Shadow Prophecies, chapter 5


    (18 March 2003)

    Eighteen. Eighteen deaths in one week and rising, rising with the numbers of the mysterious shadows.

    Nobody knew where they were coming from. Perhaps they had been summoned, but if so, by whom? Maybe they had been created- but from what? Or were they always there, and had only recently come out of hiding? Yet there were no answers to be given.

    Their numbers were growing steadily. People avoided leaving town for fear of being attacked. It would not have been so bad except for one particular factor, and that was that nobody knew how to kill them; or if they were not alive in the first place, how to destroy them.

    Some people had fought back; that in itself was apparent by the broken branches nearby and the scratch marks in the dirt. The ones who did fight ended up no better than those who didn’t. Yet strangely enough, many people were spared, and they survived, to be taken in for healing in Cademia.

    Cademia was the ‘base of operations’, since that was where the prophecies had begun. Healers had been sent for from Pnyx, as well as any from the nearby cities. In Cademia, the Ronin’s barracks had long been full. Injured people, who far outnumbered the dead ones, occupied any other place that could be spared.

    But still, people wondered if the survivors were any better off than the others were. They were terrible to look at; pale-skinned and shivering; and they were constantly nauseous. Yet that was not the worst of it.

    They were partly translucent. Their solidity disappeared as time passed. They seemed less there , as if bits of them were slowly being taken away and into another realm. Healers worried that, if left for too long, the people would eventually vanish and pass out of existence entirely. Some seemed almost to be nearing that state.

    Adults, children, male, female, human, elf, dwarf. Nobody was safe.

    Renae backed up a step, still gripping the reins tightly. “You- you were searching for me?”

    The silver-haired elf nodded, about to speak, but she was interrupted as a tall, cloaked man swept forward. He gestured at Renae.

    “Moonshadow, we can’t be sure that she is the chosen one. How do we tell if this is really her?”

    The elf gazed at Renae steadily. “I can’t prove it, that I admit; but I know she’s telling the truth.” Her eyes flickered back to the man. “She seems…familiar, somehow.”

    A blue-skinned female drew forward and laid a hand on the cloaked man’s shoulder. “Moonshadow’s right, Ferazel. I don’t know how, or why, she ended up here, but some stroke of luck is with us. We’ve obviously found the chosen one.”

    Renae stared back at them, confused and bewildered. Her hand instinctively flew to her neck, clasping the familiar white pendant. She fingered it; feeling the smooth edges of the jewel, the cold metallic feel of the fine chain- a sense of protection. “Me- the chosen one? Chosen for what? Why were you looking for me?”

    Another man, fully decked out in plate armour, sighed heavily as if recollecting memories. “It’s a long story. I suppose we’ll have to explain it all now?”

    The blue girl frowned. “Of course we do, Slayer. We can’t really expect her to come with us without telling her why she’s coming.”

    Renae shook her head back and forth slowly, struggling to comprehend all this. They wanted her to go with them? Why? Where? Who were they, anyway? Questions drifted around in her mind, pestering her, begging for answers- but somehow answers did not seem ready to be given. She laid a hand on Kiera’s withers protectively, although she realized in the back of her mind that she did not know which of them was doing the protecting.

    These people, these strange foreigners (as they obviously were); they scared her. They wore armour and had swords, or other weapons; their clothes were different; they weren’t even all human. They didn’t look like anybody she’d ever seen before, in all her fourteen years of life. In the city, down past the moors and the forest, they would look completely out of place- yet in these surroundings, they fit in perfectly, as if they were made for the forests.

    She was shaken out of her thoughts as the woman with red hair approached her. “Come on,” she said, “you can tether up your horse over here.” She gently took the reins from Renae and led the Connemara to the far end of the clearing, where the grass was a bit denser. Renae followed behind.

    Renae lengthened the reins and Leandra helped her tie it to a sturdy branch, since there was no tethering-pin. The reins were just long enough to allow Kiera to graze, and the mare contentedly began to do just that.

    When they were finished, they returned to the center of the clearing where the others had been waiting. Renae sat cross-legged on the grass, a safe distance away from the others. She looked around hesitantly at all the unfamiliar faces. “Umm…if you don’t mind…you all seem to know my name, but I don’t know any of your names.”

    A blond woman sitting nearby raised her eyebrows. “Don’t tell me that we forgot to introduce ourselves! I’m Violet.” She gestured to each person in turn, telling Renae his or her names.

    Brink looked across at Renae, studying her intently. She certainly didn’t seem anything like he’d expected the chosen one to be- but then again, when did things ever turn out as expected? At any rate, he had the same feeling as Moonshadow and Katerei; that this was the chosen one, and that by some turn of events she had managed to stumble across them. There were some in the group, however, that seemed to think differently.

    “Violet, we can’t prove this is really her,” the man named Talos said impatiently. “What if it’s not? You heard Leandra earlier; the whole city’s going to be looking for us now. It could be dangerous telling her anything.”

    Renae looked at Talos nervously. “I wasn’t lying. My name really is Renae Martinson. I don’t know why you’re looking for me, but I can say this, at least. Last night, I had a dream. I know there were people searching for me, and they needed my help. So they took me somewhere- it was an island, I think- and, well, that’s all.” She hesitated. “I don’t know if that has any connection to this at all, but it might.”

    “Well, if that’s not proof, I don’t know what is,” Moonshadow said simply. “It’s obvious which island she’s referring to. Come on…we really ought to explain to her now.”

    The armored man, apparently named Slayer, nodded and took a deep breath. “Well, the best place to start is at the beginning, and so I will.” And with that, he began the lengthy tale of the shadow prophecies in Cythera, their investigation into it, and their journey to Renae’s world- all dotted here and there with questions from Renae or comments from the others.

    “And so, we found ourselves here in ‘England’, and began our search for you,” Slayer finished.

    The ten Cytherans watched Renae expectantly. She seemed overwhelmed by it all and did not speak for a moment. “But- why me?” Renae asked finally. “What makes me so special? Why does it have to be me?” Renae stared at them defiantly. “Can’t any of you do anything about it?”

    “No, unfortunately, we can’t. It’s impossible.” Katerei sighed heavily. Renae sensed a tone in her voice, full of a sense of despair and hopelessness, but in her own frustration she ignored it.

    “Let me get this straight. You’re going to drag me through time, space, whatever, to a world that for all I know might not even exist, to help you save it from some mythical beings that you aren’t even sure actually exist. How are you going to get back there? How am I going to go there? What am I supposed to do when- no, if- I get there? You expect me to jeopardize my own life, for some people that I’ve never met up until today.”

    The man named ‘Talm’ was about to speak, but Renae cut him off. Her courage grew as the reality of it all- or lack thereof- began to sink in. “And aside from all that, why should I believe you? This could all be some prank of yours. Can you even give me any proof that this world of yours, this Cythera, exists? I don’t have to believe you. No. No way. I’m not going with you.”

    Renae jumped up and backed away towards Kiera, watching them carefully. She could leave, right then. They didn’t have horses; they wouldn’t be able to catch her. She could escape and forget it ever happened.

    “Renae,” Leandra began, as if about to reprimand her. “Come back here. You can’t run away now.”

    “No, I’ve had enough of you, thanks,” Renae said, her heart pounding. “Maybe some of you are elves, maybe you’re from a different world. I don’t know. I don’t care. Why should I come with you?” She had reached Kiera now and laid a hand on the Connemara’s flank.

    “There’s one good reason why you should come with us,” Avatara said quietly, and drew his sword. “Because we could kill you, Renae Martinson, right now.”

    Renae stopped and turned to him silently, suddenly breathing heavily. She felt sweat drops forming on her forehead. Her life had never been threatened before. Her voice was slow and stunned. “No…no, you couldn’t. I could get on Kiera now, and you couldn’t catch up to me. You couldn’t kill me.”

    “Actually, we could.”

    Renae turned her gaze to Katerei. The strange woman watched her intently; blue eyes piercing into her soul. Renae stared back defiantly, yet her courage wavered. Something was wrong here.

    Then the young girl watched, horrified, as an ice-blue wolf leaped towards her, snarling, and barrelled into her. Renae fell to the ground at Kiera’s feet, and the Connemara reared up on her hind legs, neighing wildly. The wolf’s jaws shut on Renae’s left forearm, gripping just right so that the teeth did not pierce. Within seconds the wolf was up again, lashing its tail, and then it returned to the middle of the clearing and resumed the form of Katerei.

    “What did you do?” Renae panted, cursing under her breath enough to put a sailor to shame. “What…what the hell are you?!”

    “Mages and warriors,” Ferazel replied calmly. “Avatara’s right. We could kill you if we wanted to. It’d be a perfect opportunity right now. And if you really wanted…many of us could demonstrate some more magic. But we won’t, on one condition. That you try and help us.”

    Lying on the ground, against Kiera’s foreleg, Renae stared up at them. Comprehension flooded her mind. They were magical; they hadn’t been lying. There was no doubt about that now. She realized that, whether she wanted to or not, she was going to have to try and help them.

    Late that night, Renae lay in bed, thinking about the day. She had carefully avoided any mention of the strange events to Sarah. The Cytherans had warned Renae against telling anyone about them. Although Sarah would have to know sooner or later, they had come to a decision that the day afterwards a few of them would come with Renae to her house and speak to Sarah.

    Random thoughts flickered in and out of existence in her mind. It was really too much to take in all at once. Trying to stomach shocking news such as this was next to impossible.

    She rolled over restlessly, kicking off the thick turquoise quilt. They needed her help desperately- but why her? That was one question she simply couldn’t find an answer to. Some people believed in fate- was this hers? The future seemed unfathomable. Her life was going to be endangered; that in itself was obvious from what she had been told. Why was she doing this?

    When a seed of doubt is planted in a mind, it will grow rapidly unless it is prevented from flowering. Having her life threatened earlier that day had been enough to stop Renae from doubting them. Now, in the safety of her house, she wondered again why she had agreed to do this.

    Renae hadn’t even known them up until that afternoon; that fateful Friday afternoon. They didn’t even know how to get back. Assuming they did, she didn’t know what she was to do when they reached this ‘Cythera’. How was she supposed to destroy these strange shadows, all the while being in incredible peril?

    The Cytherans had grown up in such an environment as so they were used to having their lives threatened on a regular basis. The sheltered world of modern Earth, though, is quite different. Many people will go through life without ever having to worry about preserving their life. Renae had fully expected to be one of these people. Now, everything was falling apart before her very eyes.

    She idly fingered the white pendant around her neck as she contemplated the day. It was a small, spherical jewel hung from a fine silver chain- reminiscent of the beauty of its previous owner. Renae’s mother.

    It was really the only memory Renae had. Her mind drifted as she focused on the pendant. It was comforting- a ray of hope in a shadow of fear- but it was a false security. Renae looked at it sleepily then lay back down, clutching it to her chest.

    Renae sighed fitfully, too exhausted to care any more. She was asleep almost the moment her head hit the pillow.

    Leandra leaned against a thick tree trunk, using the springy moss that grew on the side as a cushion. She ran a hand through her hair idly, pondering. Right then, the most important thing on her mind was, not surprisingly, the finding of Renae. There was one specific part, though, which bothered her.

    None of the Cytherans had considered the possibility of Renae refusing to come. Leandra realized that, had Avatara not stopped Renae with a threat of death, the girl would probably have left immediately and not come with them at all. And what would they do then?

    Everything depended on Renae, the chosen one. Everything. Without her, they could not rid their homeland of these looming figures of darkness. Without Renae, their fate was spelled out in one word. Destruction.

    And if they had not convinced her to come, that would surely be their fate. Leandra shuddered at the concept. What possibly had the power to determine their future as the sole responsibility of this young, inexperienced girl? The very thought of depending on her seemed utterly pathetic.

    Another thought suddenly occurred to Leandra. From what she had seen, this modern-world girl knew nothing of their culture. How would she manage in Cythera? Without the protection of another person or a city, the wilderness alone could be enough to kill her. Would she even survive long enough to complete her task?

    Leandra peered up at the sky through the waving tree branches, searching for the moon. Yes, her shift was over. She rose and woke Brink to replace her as watch, then returned to her seat against the tree, idly picking bits of moss from her fiery red hair.

    She sighed restlessly. Sleep was impossible. Looking around, Leandra realized that only a few people actually were sleeping. Instead, most looked wide-awake. Posting a watch was almost futile, because everybody in the camp would know immediately if something was amiss.

    Giving up all thought of sleep for the time being Leandra rose and gestured to Brink that she would be back soon. She slipped behind the tree and set off in the direction of the forest’s edge.

    “Maybe I shouldn’t have done that yesterday,” Katerei mused idly, running a hand through her long blue hair. “I think I probably scared her senseless.”

    Leandra glared at the blue girl. “You certainly did. Avatara would have dealt with Renae just fine on his own, without you going and attacking her. What if you hurt her?”

    “Well, I didn’t,” Katerei replied, slightly irritated. “I have more control than that.”

    “Either way, you should learn to control your temper, especially when dealing with foreigners.”

    Katerei snorted under her breath. “Look who’s talking,” she muttered.

    “Okay, cut it out, both of you,” Slayer said in annoyance. “What’s done is done. Either way, Renae agreed to come with us, and that’s what we wanted in the first place.”

    Violet looked up from where she was stoking the small fire. “Speaking of which, who’s going to go with Renae to talk to her mother today?”

    “Not anybody who went into town yesterday,” Brink said immediately. “We don’t want the risk of somebody recognizing them, after the particular incident that Katerei caused…” He glanced at Katerei, who had thrown up her hands impatiently, about to speak. Brink cut her off before she raised a fuss. “That rules out Talm, Violet, Leandra, Katerei, and I.”

    “I’ll go,” Avatara said bluntly. Nobody argued.

    “I’ll come with you, then,” Moonshadow said. “I know that, as an elf, I might stand out amongst them, but, we’ll see.” She shrugged vaguely and looked up at the sun. “Renae should be arriving soon. I really hope this all works out. It’s kind of alarming, having to rely on someone so inexperienced. I don’t think she even knows how to use a weapon.”

    “Well, she’ll have to learn, then,” Talos said impassively. “But not yet. I know how you feel, though, Moonshadow. Why do we have to depend on somebody from another timeframe just to save our land, instead of a native of Cythera? It’s a terrible risk.”

    “Because that’s the way it is, and we can’t change it,” Ferazel replied darkly. “I don’t like it, but it’s true.”

    Avatara raised a hand to silence him. “Listen- hooves. Must be Renae and her mare.” Despite his guess, several people’s hands instinctively went to their weapons. They needed not worry, though.

    A horse cantered into the clearing and stopped abruptly in the centre. Renae beckoned to them. “I came as quickly as I could. We can get to my house without travelling on roads- the paths lead directly there- but there are other people on the paths right now that I don’t want to meet up with. We’ll have to be careful.”

    Moonshadow nodded. “Shouldn’t be too difficult. Only Avatara and I are going. It’s fortunate that we can travel cross-country as opposed to through the city. If need be, we can hide from somebody passing by.”

    Renae looked down at the elf dubiously. “It’s sort of hard to hide a horse. I wouldn’t have ridden Kiera, but she has a better memory than I do. I wouldn’t have been able to recognize the route we took yesterday.”

    “You relied on your horse to lead you here?” Talm said incredulously.

    “Yes; why not?” Renae shrugged, rubbing the mare’s flank. “Anyway, it’s not important. Come on, let’s go.” Waving goodbye, she brought Kiera into a trot and left the clearing, with Avatara and Moonshadow following close behind.

    The forest was silent except for the clopping sound of the Connemara’s hooves on the dirt path. So far, they hadn’t encountered anyone else. Renae was glad of it. Although she travelled the trails often, and Avatara was not overly conspicuous, as for Moonshadow it would be difficult to explain an elf’s presence in rural England.

    A soft breeze blew across the trails, scattering fallen leaves. The canopy of trees blocked the sky from view, and only a few patches of sunlight filtered through the leaves, casting a wan green light over the ground. The whole effect was rather depressing in its pallidness.

    “Are you sure you know where we’re going?” Moonshadow asked cautiously. They had taken many twists and turns that would be difficult to repeat over again.

    “No, I never claimed to know where we were going,” Renae called over her shoulder. “It’s Kiera who’s leading, not me.”

    “She’s a fool, to trust her horse like this,” Avatara muttered. Moonshadow made no reply.

    Perhaps it was indeed a risk to lay faith in a horse’s sense of direction, but all the same, it took only a little longer until they left the forest and found themselves standing in a meadow. Sunlight shone over them as Renae pointed across the waves of grass to a set of buildings, a house and a barn.

    “That’s where I live,” she said, and grinned. “See, I knew it would work out all right. And we didn’t even meet up with anyone else on the way. Come on, I’ll put Kiera back in the paddock and take you in to see Sarah.”

    Avatara and Moonshadow waited while Renae unsaddled her horse and put her on the picket line on the paddock. Then, when she was done, she silently led them towards the house.

    It was a large, old farmhouse, complemented well by the barn nearby. The barn was mostly empty, except for the horses’ stalls, and although the house felt empty with only two people, it was kept busy with Renae’s many cats.

    Renae entered through the back door to a quiet house. Even the cats were nowhere to be seen. Beckoning the Cytherans to follow, she led them down the hallway and into the kitchen.

    “What a peculiar place,” Moonshadow whispered, awed. “Nothing like the buildings in Cythera.” Avatara, however, seemed quite unmoved by the modern English house.

    “I don’t know where Sarah is,” said Renae. “I’ll go look for her. Just a moment.”

    She returned shortly, a tall dark-haired woman following behind. The woman had a curious expression on her face, and her eyes flickered over the Cytherans. Avatara she passed over quickly, as he seemed normal enough, but when her eyes landed on Moonshadow she stifled a gasp.

    “Aunt Sarah,” Renae said nervously, “I’d like you to meet Moonshadow and Avatara…” she trailed off, biting her lip, waiting for a reaction.

    Still looking shocked, the woman drew forward and clasped each of their hands in turn. “Greetings. I am Sarah, or so you may call me for now. Moonshadow…am I wrong in assuming that you are indeed an elf?”

    “No, that’s correct,” Moonshadow replied steadily. “So there are people here in England that know of elves?”

    “Very few that do,” murmured Sarah. She seemed awe-struck. “I am one of the few, and with good reason. Sit down, won’t you? If you are who I think you are, then we have much to discuss.”

    The sharp twanging of a bowstring echoed through the forest, followed by the swish of an arrow and the soft thump of an arrowhead in wood. Trinias smiled to himself. Perfect shot.

    He walked over to the tree and, as he pulled the arrow out gently, there was a rustling of leaves. Trinias turned, looking around at the bushes nearby. There was no one to be seen. He knew of the possibility that the person was invisible through ways of magic and, gripping his bow tightly, began searching through the trees with his hands.

    Leaves rustled again, just behind him. Trinias turned, perplexed. There was definitely nobody there; he’d just come that way. He tried to fit an arrow to the string, but suddenly his arms went numb and limp. The bow and arrow dropped from his hands onto the ground and a chill swept through the air. The forest darkened as if something had blocked out the sun, but Trinias hardly noticed. The cold seeped into his body, numbing everything. His legs gave out and he collapsed to the ground. He lay shaking, unable to think properly or control his limbs. Then…there was a voice.

    “Ath maisen ni’ray calruin. Hesh ne’calros guin.” It spoke in a harsh, guttural language that Trinias would not have recognized whether he was fully conscious or not. Indeed, it was the language of the shadows, unknown to anyone alive on Cythera. The only people that had heard it were already dead.

    The voice reverberated throughout him, echoing in his mind. The foreign words made no sense, but somehow Trinias sensed the meaning. All will finally left him and he lay still. The cold grew stronger, past human bearing, and all light seemed to wane from the dim forest.

    Unopposed, the shadow drew forward swiftly and kneeled down next to Trinias. It took his arm in an icy cold grip and lifted it slowly. Had Trinias been conscious then, he would have felt an incredible pain from the touch.

    The shadow lowered its head and set its teeth around Trinias’ arm. A single set of pointed, needle-sharp teeth- ready to pierce his skin and kill him instantly. And so it would’ve done, if it were given just a few seconds longer.

    Moonshadow sat down, looking slightly confused. “You know who we are already? If you don’t mind me asking, how do you know?”

    Sarah closed her eyes briefly, delving back into her memories. Presently she opened her eyes again and spoke. “You are the couriers. You bear a message from your land, the ten of you. Am I correct?”

    “Yes, that’s right.” Avatara studied the woman with a piercing gaze. “And in that case, do you know where we’re from, as well?”

    Sarah shook her head. “No, I cannot remember. It has been so long. All I know is that the time has now come, and you are here to take someone away- back with you to your land. Who you shall take is not in my knowledge, nor do I know what led you to me. Yet, they did say that you would come…you would come to me.”

    “Who do you mean by they?” Moonshadow queried.

    “They were called Lataos and Adriar in their first realm; Link and Kyla in their second.”

    Renae stifled a gasp and tears sprang to her eyes at the mention of her father and mother. “Link and Kyla- my parents! But- you don’t mean to say- they were involved in all this too?”

    “Yes.” Sarah nodded solemnly. “They were not originally from here- they were from your land.” She gestured towards the Cytherans. “It was a long time ago. I never did find out how they wound up here in England, but they came here with a baby. Renae, I might as well tell you now- you aren’t from England at all. You were born in their land.”

    “In Cythera?” Moonshadow said incredulously, and turned to Avatara. “So she is tied to the land! That explains it all!”

    “Explains what all?” It was Sarah’s turn now to be confused.

    “Just listen. It makes perfect sense. Renae was born in Cythera, and somehow or other her parents ended up in England. That part’s unclear, but what with all the time travelling and dimensional shifts that seem to happen, I suppose it’s quite feasible. Now, that immediately ties her down to Cythera. That’s the link- the reason that Renae is the one we have to take back to our land.”

    “You don’t say!” Sarah cried, astounded, and buried her face in her hands. “Oh, they never told me it was going to be her! Of all people…”

    “They probably didn’t know, either,” Avatara said stolidly. “Nor did we. It was only by chance that we came across her, and only by guess that it’s actually her. But I see what Moonshadow’s getting at. Her parents are Cytheran- is she not the most likely candidate around here for it?”

    “But,” Renae interrupted, “that still doesn’t explain all of it. Why me and not someone truly Cytheran- someone who lives there already?”

    “That, I cannot answer,” Avatara replied. “It’s beyond my knowledge. Now, Sarah- how much were you told about the reasoning for it all?”

    “Very little.” Sarah shrugged. “Lataos and Adriar- I rarely called them by their English names- said that whoever came from Cythera, as you called it, would come to me when the time came. I did not know what that time signified; only that they would be taking a person away. Of course, I never dreamed it would be Renae; born as she was there, I still never considered it. Yet I knew something of what would happen. I knew it would be ten people, and that they needed the service of whoever was taken. I just didn’t know what that service would be.”

    “Well, the reason Renae first brought us here was to explain to you why she was needed.” Moonshadow sighed. “So you know that it’s her. Now, as for why…Cythera, our land, is in danger. It came about very recently- only a few days ago, I suppose it was, assuming your time works at the same speed as our time. It’s the strangest thing. Our people are being attacked by shadow-like creatures; things never seen or known to us before. It was prophesized that they would come. One of the people who came with Avatara and I discovered it in a book. Nobody knows why it happened now, but it happened all the same. The Shadow Prophecies have come true, and it is killing our people off faster than we can handle.”

    Avatara continued where she left off. “And also in the prophecies, it said there was a chosen one- the one who could stop it all. The chosen one is Renae. There was a riddle about it, in form of poem, which detailed what we must do. And now that we’ve found her, by your permission, we must take Renae back to Cythera.”

    Sarah nodded slowly, lowering her head to hide her tears. “Yes…I see now. As much as I hate to do it, I know you must go, Renae. I’ll miss you terribly, my dear, but your parents would have wanted you to go. I will allow it- now it is your decision whether to go or not.”

    “I’ve already decided.” Renae stood up and squared her shoulders. “As much as I may worry about it, I will go with the Cytherans, and do whatever I can to help them. Now that I know it is my homeland, how could I possibly do any less?”

    Moonshadow smiled. “Wonderful. Then the ten of us shall set off to Cythera; with the daughter of Lataos and Adriar, with the chosen one of Cythera.”

    A tall figure discreetly entered the Tavern and headed in Sasha’s direction. Sasha looked up as Katze took a seat and leaned forward to whisper something in her ear.

    Sasha’s eyes widened in horror. “You’re kidding!” she hissed. “But- no- you can’t really mean it? Where was he?”

    “Out in the forest.” Katze beckoned to her. “Come on.” She stood up and led Sasha outside. Several other confused patrons silently watched them go.

    “Oh, no,” Sasha said under her breath. “The shadows. They finally-“ she stopped in mid-sentence and lowered her eyes.

    She, Katze, Wolmark, Ulf, Kwon Chen, and Flynn were standing in a room of the Two-Tailed Rat Inn. Apis had graciously given all her spare rooms to provide lodging for people attacked by the shadows. Now here they were, staring down at one of them who lay on a bed- none but their own beloved Trinias.

    “Is he…dead?” Sasha asked, stunned. She touched his pale face. The skin was cold and clammy.

    “No, he’s alive,” Flynn said. His voice was flat; expressionless. “But he’s unconscious and already fading. Look; you can see.”

    Katze, who had said very little up to that point, began to speak quietly. “I was looking for him earlier on today. Brianna told me he’d gone out to the woods to practice his archery, so I went out there. At first there didn’t seem to be any sign of him, but then I saw an arrow lying among the brush. And then I noticed the darkness, and the cold. It was like…like being encased in ice.”

    Katze’s voice shuddered and she paused before resuming her tale. “Right away I knew. It had gone after Trinias. I pushed through the trees and saw it crouching over his body. I didn’t know what to do but I lunged at it, and when I hit it, it fled. I think it was just about to kill him.” She fell silent again, musing over it.

    “But…you say you hit the shadow. Does that mean it was solid?” Wolmark ventured after a moment.

    “Well, no. That was the odd thing. I don’t think it was really there- at any rate I basically fell through it. Felt like falling into freezing water. I don’t know if it felt it too, but it left and that’s all I cared about. Now here Trinias is, and I don’t know what to do. I can only imagine how hard it is on the rest of you, since you were all so close to him.”

    Flynn turned away from the others. “Leandra doesn’t know,” he muttered.

    “We can only hope that they all return to Cythera soon.” Kwon Chen said gravely. “If fortune is with us, then with the chosen one. Then we shall see how the tides turn to or against our favour. Until then, let us do what we can to protect all others.”

    This post has been edited by iKaterei : 02 February 2014 - 09:36 PM

  • Katerei and Renae are sisters?! How is that possible! Renae is human!

    Also notable is that Avatara is human in this story. I wonder when he made the species change?

    Anyway, I'm very impressed with how far you had gotten in this chapter (in fact, I don't see why it couldn't have ended there & then continued in chapter 6). Ranae got a lot of character development in this chapter (which is something I hadn't considered), and also it sounds like the heroes may have more work ahead of them than I originally thought. I assumed Ranae just had to do some simple ritual, but it seems she's got to actually fight the shadow monsters. I hope you're still up for finishing the story, Tyry!

    Thank you for posting this, Kat ^_ _^ If anyone else has old chronicle fragments hanging around their hard-disks, I encourage you to post them! Look how much fun this is! ^ __^

  • @breadworldmercy453_bot, on 03 February 2014 - 10:10 AM, said in Shadow Prophecies, chapter 5:

    Katerei and Renae are sisters?! How is that possible! Renae is human!

    I questioned the same thing!


    Also notable is that Avatara is human in this story. I wonder when he made the species change?

    Apparently between part 4 and part 5.


    Anyway, I'm very impressed with how far you had gotten in this chapter (in fact, I don't see why it couldn't have ended there & then continued in chapter 6). Ranae got a lot of character development in this chapter (which is something I hadn't considered), and also it sounds like the heroes may have more work ahead of them than I originally thought. I assumed Ranae just had to do some simple ritual, but it seems she's got to actually fight the shadow monsters. I hope you're still up for finishing the story, Tyry!

    I thought they were already back on Cythera and it was literally missing just the ending. This one still is pretty far away. :(

  • Quote

    Apparently between part 4 and part 5.

    Nice! That narrows it down ^_ __^ What has he been up to in woods..?


    I thought they were already back on Cythera and it was literally missing just the ending. This one still is pretty far away. : _ ___(

    Sorry : __( I thought they at least knew how to get back to Cythera? Despite this set-back, I still think it's a lot closer to completed plot-wise than most of the other abandoned stories. I guess that's not very comforting.

  • @breadworldmercy453_bot, on 03 February 2014 - 10:10 AM, said in Shadow Prophecies, chapter 5:

    Katerei and Renae are sisters?! How is that possible! Renae is human!

    I wish I knew the real explanation, but I don't. According to the backstory I was using at this point, Katerei's parents are dead and Katerei probably would have known if she had a sister before that. Here are some speculations:

    1. I re-assigned Katerei's parents' names to new characters, and the girls aren't related at all. This would be the most plausible explanation… except that Katerei's parents were still named that when I wrote La Coranich in 2007.

    2. Katerei's parents adopted/rescued a human baby in Cythera, brought her to our world, left her in care of someone else, and returned to Cythera. Which would be a really weird thing to do.

    3. Kat and Renae are related by blood, but Renae's been disguised as a human by magic her whole life and doesn't even know what she is. Why she's in our world, I don't know.

    Weirdly this would make most sense with the new backstory I wrote (where her parents aren't necessarily dead yet), which I'd better go post.


    Also notable is that Avatara is human in this story. I wonder when he made the species change?

    I have a feeling author-Avatara pointed out to me between 4 and 5 that Avatara was in disguise as a human. I think the idea was that he was much less conspicuous than Moonshadow or Katerei because he's normal-coloured, so it's just the elf ears that stand out.


    Anyway, I'm very impressed with how far you had gotten in this chapter (in fact, I don't see why it couldn't have ended there & then continued in chapter 6).

    I must have been nearly done, though the original document ends with a * section break that implies I was going to write more. I probably got stuck resolving some major issue (maybe the sisters thing) that held me up for so long I just gave up.

    @avatara_bot, on 03 February 2014 - 03:37 PM, said in Shadow Prophecies, chapter 5:

    I thought they were already back on Cythera and it was literally missing just the ending. This one still is pretty far away. :(

    Pffft, you know my writing. I don't do things by halves. Write hard or write home.

    Actually, I had a problem with characters back then just agreeing to go off on crazy life-threatening quests and NEVER QUESTIONING what might happen to them, so I wanted Renae to put up a fight before agreeing. And things had to be suitably scary by the time they actually get back to Cythera.

    This post has been edited by iKaterei : 03 February 2014 - 05:51 PM

  • Well, I finally got around to reading this series (I had skimmed a chapter or two some years ago). It's an interesting premise and well-written as usual. It's too bad that most of these characters (and their creators) have disappeared from the TSs :( .

Log in to reply