Cythera Chronicles: The Shadow Prophecies, Chapter 6
Looks like six more weeks of winter!
Notes: This is an entry for the May Chron Challenge. As fan-fiction fan-fiction, it is endorsed by neither gandreas, the author of Cythera, nor Katerei, the author of the original series. Previous chapters can be found here: Part 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Renae Martinson carefully placed her favorite gray lace-embroidered shirt into her school bag and zipped it closed. Hopefully three changes of clothes would last until she got back. Or, at worst, until she could find a launderette in Cythera. She hoped she wouldn’t be gone for too long. Exams were coming up next month.
Ashaya brushed against her leg and purred until Renae picked her up and set her on the bed. The tabby promptly crawled into her lap and rolled onto her side, pawing playfully at Renae’s jeans.
“I’m going to miss you, Ashaya,” Renae said softly, leaning forward to rest her head on warm fur. Ashaya yawned in reply.
Renae straightened and cast a long look around her room. She had been away from home before, spending a whole week at summer camp, yet something felt different this time. Her nerves were itching in trepidation. Summer camp hadn’t had strange shadow creatures threatening to kill everyone. Water began to leak out of her eyes.
Despite what she told her aunt earlier, Renae wasn’t quite sure she was up to the task. Even if she was the chosen one, how was she supposed to vanquish these shadow fiends? When she was at their camp earlier, the strangers from Cythera all looked like they had been in fights before, so why were they so desperate to bring her with them?
She closed her eyes and clasped her mother’s pendant, drawing it out from underneath her shirt. The socketed gem pulsed with warmth, far warmer than the cool silver enclosing it. Whenever she was in doubt, she could rely on the amulet to calm her nerves.
“She didn’t climb out the window, did she?” Avatara’s voice came from the other side of the door.
Renae’s eyes snapped open. She was afraid of him, especially since he had threatened to kill her if she didn’t come along, although he wasn’t nearly as terrifying as that wolf-shapeshifter. Still, she didn’t want to run away now and let him know she was scared.
“Give her some more time. She’ll come out when she’s ready,” Moonshadow said.
“I don’t know how much time we have,” Avatara muttered. Yet, the door did not open.
Renae stood up and wiped her face on her sleeve. Ashaya was sitting on the bed, watching her.
“I’ll see you again soon,” Renae said, forcing a smile. She shouldered her pack and paused in front of the mirror to adjust her appearance before opening the door. Avatara and Moonshadow looked up quietly as she exited her bedroom.
“Where are they?” Katerei complained, pacing impatiently around the camp.
“Have some patience. Perhaps it took some time to convince her family,” Leandra said, brushing the tangles out of her hair.
“But this long? It’s almost sunset!” Katerei said.
“Leandra is right. Those two know how to take care of themselves. There is nothing to be gained from rushing off in a panic,” Slayer told her calmly. Katerei stopped pacing and put her hands on her hips, scowling at him.
“You don’t want what happened yesterday to repeat itself, do you?” Talos asked from his perch on a fallen log.
“Now, now. It was a harmless mistake,” Brink intervened, gesturing for them all to sit down. He looked up at Katerei and broke into a wry grin. “Mostly.”
Katerei threw up her hands in exasperation. “You all don’t get it! We’re running out of time!”
“What do you mean?” Violet asked.
“Have you forgotten? The shadow creatures could be tearing through our friends in Cythera as we speak!” Katerei was openly shouting now, glare darting between all of the impassive faces that had fixated on her. She took a breath and continued, more softly, “And…I don’t know how much longer we can stay here.”
Leandra placed a hand on the blue girl’s shoulder. “Rushing off to find them won’t help matters. What if they come back but you get lost? We won’t be able to perform the incantation without you.”
“I know how you feel,” Leandra said, her voice slightly more strained than before. “But we should trust our companions. Let’s just give them a little more time, okay?”
“Okay.” Katerei’s shoulders slumped, but she quietly sat on the ground and watched the fire. Flames danced in her vision, twisting and distorting the lengthening shadows descending upon the clearing.
Katze watched them from her perch high in the trees. The translucent beings lumbered along; their forms rippling and shifting in a disorienting fashion with each step.
“At least two dozen, by my count,” Sideline whispered as he pulled himself up onto a branch near hers.
“What can we do against so many?” she replied, her gaze never leaving the creatures below.
“You cannot stop them,” Lemni said as her shadowy form appeared next to them.
“I know,” Katze sighed. They had tried alchemy last time. An experiment that went horribly wrong and would leave a swath of forest scarred and burned for the next several years. The liquid fire had seemed to affect the shadow monsters at first, enough to stop them in their tracks, but the fire had vanished all-too-quickly and the ambush had only alerted the beings to their presence. Two alchemists were still recovering. If they would recover.
“Perhaps we don’t need to stop them,” Sideline said. When Katze and Lemni turned to look at him, he continued, “We just need to divert them. Right now they’re heading straight towards Cademia. If we could draw them away…”
Katze’s eyes lit up at the suggestion. It was difficult to harm them, but grabbing their attention was easy. Grabbing the attention of two dozen without being caught and consumed was another matter. “We’re going to need some help.”
“We can ask the Ronin. I’m sure they’ll have a few tricks they want to try,” Sideline agreed.
“The shadows will be very angry,” Lemni said.
“I’m counting on it,” Katze grinned.
The clouds in the sky had faded from a bright pink to a dull blue by the time the group heard hoofprints. Violet leapt up just as Avatara and Moonshadow appeared, leading Renae on her Connemara. When Slayer quirked an eyebrow at the horse, Moonshadow explained, “Renae insisted that Kiera come along.”
“What took you so long?” Talos asked.
“We got…held up longer than expected,” Avatara said, not quite looking at Renae’s reddening face.
“I’m sorry about the delay, but I’m ready now. I promise,” Renae told the nine individuals gathering around her.
“Where’s Katerei?” Avatara asked, glancing around. “We should be able to return now.”
Leandra’s face darkened. “Violet? Weren’t you picking berries with her?”
Violet straightened up suddenly. “Y-Yes. She said she’d be back in a minute and told me to go on ahead.”
“That was half an hour ago!” Talos grumbled.
“Fool girl!” Leandra hissed.
“Um, what’s going on?” Renae asked, looking considerably more worried by the minute.
“When you took so long getting back, she probably figured you were lost and went looking for you,” Brink said, absently cleaning his nails with a pointed piece of bark.
“Katerei?” Ferazel called out. There was no reply.
“We’ll have to go looking for her,” Leandra said. “Talm, Talos, and Violet. You three are with me.”
“What about me?” Renae asked. “I know this place better than any of you.”
“No, you stay here. The last thing we need is to all get separated from one another,” the red-haired woman told her. Leandra adjusted her belt, ensuring her daggers were securely hidden, and the four of them quickly set off into the woods.
I have to find them!
Katerei raced through the trees in wolf-form, trying to detect the lingering scent of her companions. It was a task made more difficult in places by the awful smell of those metal machines and the hours that had passed since they left. The leafless branches poked and scratched at her as she flew by. A few twists and turns, a leap over a hedge, and she burst out into a large meadow. Ahead of her, she could dimly make out a house and a barn, near the far side. Instinctively, she knew that was where they had gone. Renae’s house.
Katerei broke into a full run, no longer paying attention to the scents around her, but focused on reaching the house as quick as possible. She didn’t see the road running through a dip in the meadow until she was already bounding across it. A loud horn and a painful screeching broke her concentration and she missed a step, turning her dash into a painful roll as a checkered yellow and blue metal monster spun through the air she had just vacated. Katerei rolled to a stop in the grass with a whimper. Her back leg throbbed with pain and a terrible burning smell was filling her lungs. She shifted back into her human form to lessen the smell and saw the metal monster had skidded to a stop a few dozen paces from her. Already a woman was getting out of the contraption, looking around the cloud of dust and black smoke in a daze.
Her ankle throbbing and short on time, Katerei tried to crawl deeper into the grass, but before she could get far, the woman spotted her and started running over. Her mind in a panic, she tried to heal her ankle but fumbled the spell.
“You!” Lisa shouted, standing over the blue girl stretched out painfully in the grass. “I remember you! You’re the one that saved that child!”
Katerei looked up, trying to identify the woman through the tears blurring her vision. With this much pain, her ankle must have twisted pretty badly. She looked down at her leg and didn’t see any blood, aside from the minor scrapes she had obtained from her fall. Katerei reached out a hand to feel her ankle, but the woman grabbed it.
“I have some questions for you,” Lisa said, leaning in close, head almost touching Katerei’s. “If you’re willing to answer them, I can look at getting you some medical help.”
453 last edited by
Yay, another chapter of Shadow Prophecies! I think you did well with the characters in this story ^ ___^ That must have been hard, there's so many characters in here who haven't been used in a long time! Now I'm really curious what is Lisa's interest in Katerei. I checked my "who's whose" notes on Lisa, but it only said "girl in Shadow Prophecies" : __\ So I guess either she didn't do much or I was too lazy to write it down. (I figured I remembered this story well enough to not re-read it.)
So, who's going to finish the story? Kat? Tyry? Someone else..? ^_ __^
Katerei last edited by
I have no intentions of finishing it. I hoped Avatara would
Lisa witnessed Katerei shifting into a wolf and saving a child from getting hit by a car. She followed the group afterward. I have no idea why she exists in the story or what I planned to do with her.
Selax last edited by
Renae was willing to leave her cat behind to help them :blink: ? She really must be committed to this "saving the world" business.
It was my impression that cats don't like to travel.
Selax last edited by
Indeed: I mean I'm surprised that she was willing to leave instead of staying with the cat.