Please enjoy what I have written so far of my novel! Chapter 3 coming soon!
The Eversky Scrolls
Book One: A Witch’s Tale
Prologue: The Book
“Do you wanna see something cool?” asked the shortest of the five children. When her three friends nodded, she turned to her sister and grinned, and then disappeared into the family’s large library. When she returned, she was carrying a large, dusty book. She set it down on the table in the center of five children, and blew the dust away from the cover, revealing a ten-pointed star surrounded by ten strange symbols. “My grandmother used to read Aislin and I stories from this book when we were little. When we were old enough to read it ourselves, we realized the stories were entries from a diary; one of many,” she explained.
“What’s it about?” asked the tallest of the four girls in the room.
“Our ancestors…and magic,” replied the shortest girl.
“C’mon, Terra! Magic isn’t real! We’re not five anymore,” argued the only boy in the room.
“Oh yeah?” Terra asked with a grin. She produced a pot of dirt from one of the shelves and placed it on the table by the book. She pressed her finger to the cover of the book, pointing at the topmost symbol. “See this? The entire book is written in this funny language. At first, Aislin and I couldn’t read it, but now it’s different. It’s like the whole thing is written in English. My grandmother once told us that the ten-pointed star stands for the five Towers and the five Pillars that feed our family’s powers. No one knows where these Towers and Pillars are, only that inside them is infinate knowledge. Many people in my family have died searching for them. Now, watch! See this seed? It’s ten years old. This special seed is of a flower that takes months to sprout blossoms. I bet you I can make it grow in minutes,” she declared. “If I can, then you all have to read the Oath on the first page with me,” Terra finished.
Intrigued, the other three nodded. “Aislin and I have already read the Oath. It’s a family tradition to read the Oath on our tenth birthdays. Okay, here we go,” Terra said. She placed the seed in the pot and covered it with dirt, and then opened the book to the seventh page. She began to read the words, speaking in a language only Aislin had heard before. She placed her hands only inches above the pot, and smirked when the seed sprouted roots. In the space of five minutes, the seed have bloomed into a beautiful, odd, purple flower.
“It’s a trick!” the boy accused.
Terra placed a hand on her hip. “Don’t be such a sore loser, Conleth. I won, so you all have to read the Oath with me,” she stated.
“Terra…none of us can read that weird language,” the tallest of the girls stated.
“That’s okay. Since there’s so many of us, you guys just have to say ‘I swear’ in the right places,” she said, and began to recite the Oath. She cued her friends whenever they were to speak. When they finished, Terra turned to a page with a large list of names. “Look. These gold lines connect everyone that’s in the Clan that’s related by blood. There’s Aislin, Rowan, Mary, and me. Next to me…that silver lines connects you all to me, because I inducted you into my Clan. Now you all can read the book, too…and look at your arms,” she said. She held out her arm. Right on the forearm, almost like a tatoo, was the symbol of the ten-pointed star and all ten symbols. Her friends watched in amazement as the symbols slowly appeared on their own arms.
“Conleth, Trinity, and Melanie…you three are now Witches of the Munro Clan. Welcome to the family,” she said.
Chapter One: Sisters
The lights of the large room seemed to center on her as she entered the front door. She had a confident air around her, as if nothing in the world could bring her down at this moment. Dark brown, almost black hair fell over chocolate brown eyes. Red streaks seemed to make her dark hair sparkle in the spotlight. Clinging to her black-sleeved arm was a young blonde girl with deep blue eyes. If not for their similar facial features, no one would be able to tell that the two girls, who were eleven months apart, were sisters.
“Terra, don’t go too far, okay?” asked the short blonde.
“Oh, for Selene’s sake, Aislin, stop acting like a little kid!” Terra scolded, as she pried herself free of her sister’s grasp. Terra loved her sister, but Aislin’s fear of being separated from her was getting a little old. If not for Aislin’s blonde hair and blue eyes, and the fact that she was taller, she and Terra might seem like twins…and the two were as close as twins. “Look, there’s Conleth and Matthias. Go sit with them. I have to head back stage and check on my guitar,” she stated. “Go on!” she grumbled and shoved her sister through the crowd toward the other the two boys.
Once she made sure Aislin reached the boys, watching her from afar, she disappeared into the dressing rooms. “Terra, you’re late!” cried the first of three other girls. Terra recognized not just the voice, but the head of long brunette hair.
“Sorry. You know how Aislin can be sometimes,” Terra stated and flopped down in the chair beside the brunette. “Trinity, did I leave my eye shadow at your place yesterday?” she asked, turning to the brunette.
“Yes. You’d lose your head if it wasn’t attached to your neck,” Trinity stated. Terra simply rolled her eyes and began applying her make-up. Trinity was truly her best friend. Whenever Terra had a problem, she always went to Trinity for advice, though Trinity’s incessant need to spout off random facts was driving the rest of the group insane. When Terra was sure her hair and make-up were finished, she moved over to Hikari, the youngest of the four members of the band, to help her with her tremendous amount of red curls.
“So, Terra, give us the details about your date with Matthias last night,” Hikari pushed.
“He took me to a movie, is all. I wouldn’t even call it a date,” Terra stated.
It was a hassle, but with some help from Trinity and Melanie, the final member of their band, they managed to straighten the red locks and place sparkles throughout the silky substance. The final task was to change. Terra and Hikari were the only two who looked the part of the type of music they played. Both wore corsets of black, but in different styles. Terra’s was black leather. It moved over her front, flattening her stomach slightly, and finally resting over black, baggy chain-pants. Her combat platforms finished the look. Hikari’s corset was dainty, and covered in lace and ribbon. It rested a few inches above her belt, revealing a toned, flat stomach. She wore a short black skirt, fishnet stockings, and calf-high, lace-up boots.
Terra had managed to convince Melanie and Trinity to wear black, but their black jeans and bright Happy Bunny t-shirts made the two stand out.
“Are we ready?” Melanie asked. The airy confidence in her voice caused the hair on the back of Terra’s neck stand up with excitement. She was more than ready. This wasn’t her first gig, but it was the first outside of her garage and the school talent show. She grinned and moved to the stage, staying off to the side where the curtains would hide them. It was almost time. Terra watched the band already on stage, surmising how well they were getting the crowd going. They were pretty much being ignored. Terra bobbed her head to the beat, and realized that the bassist was off. She looked at the girls a moment, and grinned.
“We’ll rock this place so hard tonight; they won’t know what hit it,” Hikari said with a grin.
When the other band was done, the curtains closed and the four girls made their way to their instruments. Melanie seated herself behind the drums, and Terra pulled the shoulder strap of her guitar over her shoulder. She pulled her pick from her pocket and played a note. When Hikari had her violin in position, she played the same note to make sure she was on key. With a smile, Terra adjusted the microphone and waited for the curtains to open. When they did, Hikari began to play a lovely melody on the violin. After a few measures, Terra joined in with her guitar, adding a more rock-like feel to the music. Trinity’s bass wasn’t far behind, and Terra lifted her head. Softly, she began to sing.
“Alas, my love, you do me wrong to cast me off discourteously…” she sang, “…and I have loved you for so long, delighting in…your company…”
Just as she sang the last two words, Melanie joined in with her drums and Trinity began to sing backup. The crowd who had been chattering and ignoring the previous band stopped and stared at Terra and her friends. The strange mix of a sixteenth century song, and the rock feel that Terra loved so much seemed to catch the crowd’s attention. Soon enough, people were dancing. Some were even cheering, but to Terra, it all faded away. There was nothing more than her and the music that was coursing through her body as she played and sang.
When the song was over, and Hikari had played the last note, Terra waved to the crowd. “Good evening everyone! My name is Terra Munro, and these are my friends Hikari Katsuya, Trinity Allaway, and Melanie Buchanon. Together, we are Eleventh Torment!” she cried. The crowd roared with applause and cheers. She threw a grin at her three friends.
An hour and a half passed until the girls decided to call it a night. “Well, that’s it for tonight, and we hope to come back real soon!” Terra cried. She followed the other three girls off the stage.
“A little over the top, don’t you think, Terra?” Hikari asked as she fixed the lacing of her corset.
“I don’t think so,” replied Terra. She headed out into the large area where people were dancing, stopped to buy a drink from the bar, and made her way over to her sister, her boyfriend, and the only other boy in the group. “How’d we sound?” Terra asked as she kissed Matthias’ cheek. The boy grinned happily and placed his arm around Terra’s waist. “Beautiful, as always,” he answered and looked up as a DJ took over the stage. He was thankful that another crappy band wasn’t going to try to play for them. No one would be able to follow Terra’s band, due to their excellence and skill.
“So are we still on for tomorrow?” Conleth asked, running a hand through his red hair. The five girls had gotten used to Conleth constantly checking his hair, but Matthias always seemed annoyed by it. Terra seemed confused a moment, but realized what Conleth was talking about. Tomorrow, after school, they would meet in the small grove behind Hikari’s house that was filled with power. There, they would induct Matthias and Hikari into their Clan. Terra, Trinity, and Aislin had all noticed something when they were talking late one night at Terra’s house.. Each of them had a different strength, usually surrounding around an element. On the five main points of the tattoo on their arms, the same symbol that appeared on the Clan’s book, were the symbols of each of the elements that Terra, Trinity, Conleth, Aislin, and Melanie each had a talent in. Trinity didn’t understand the significance of it at the moment, but she had a gut feeling that something would soon begin.
Terra couldn’t help but wonder what type of elements Matthias and Hikari would receive. She smiled at Trinity a moment, and finally sat down, wiping a bit of sweat from her forehead with a napkin. She hadn’t noticed that he had disappeared until she felt something cold against the back of her neck. She looked over her shoulder to find Conleth standing there, holding a water bottle against her skin. She reached a hand around and took it from him, holding it there for a few moments.
“Thanks,” she stated, trying to ignore the glares Matthias was shooting at Conleth. She would have to talk to him later and point out that there was no longer anything between her and Conleth. She stood and stretched. “C’mon, let’s get out of here,” she said and grabbed Matthias’ arm, hugging it tightly as the group made their way through the crowd to step out into the cold air of the night. Terra closed her eyes. The cold air felt good against her tan skin.
Terra found herself standing on the porch of her house, alone with Matthias. The lights in the house were all turned off, except for the living room, porch light and her and Aislin’s bedroom. She smiled softly and lifted onto her tiptoes, to kiss Matthias on the cheek. He smiled and kissed her cheek in return. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” he stated and started to walk back to his car.
Matthias turned, and grinned. Terra was the only person allowed to call him ‘Matt’. ‘Matthias’ just sounded too formal to her. “Are you sure you’re ready to join the Clan?” Terra asked, worry lining her soft face. Matthias was surprised by the question, and the amount of fear in Terra’s voice, but he only smiled confidently and moved back in front of her, placing his hands on her arms.
“I am,” he stated.
“Are you sure?” she asked again.
“I’ve never been more certain,” Matthias said and kissed her lips deeply. When the kissed ended, he turned and headed for his car. “Goodnight!” he called over his shoulder. Terra smiled and pulled open her front door. She stepped inside, locked the door behind her, and turned off the porch and living room lights. She made her way up to the bedroom she shared with Aislin and opened the door. As she stepped in, she had to cover her mouth to muffle her squealing.
“What’s with you?” Aislin asked as she pulled the shirt of her pajamas over her head. As it fell down around her chest and stomach, she noticed that Terra had closed the door and was leaning against it, still squealing beneath her two hands. “What happened?” she said, hoping to get her sister to spill the beans.
“He kissed me,” Terra answered, a dreamy sigh in her voice.
“He’s kissed you before,” Aislin pointed out.
“Not like that,” Terra replied.
“Did he feel you up, too?” Aislin asked.
“Aislin!” Terra cried and she grabbed a nearby pillow from the floor and tossed it at her sister. Aislin giggled and caught it, taking the time to regain her balance before tossing it back at Terra. Terra laughed loudly as she ducked and the pillow hit the door. The sound of pounding against the wall ended their fun and Terra crossed her arms. “Party pooper,” she grumbled and stripped off her corset and pants. She took the time to pull on her purple, fairy pajamas and climbed into bed.
“So…have you and Trinity talked about the symbol lately?” Aislin asked as she sat down on the edge of her bed.
“Just in passing, but I think there’s some significance to it. Grandma used to tell stories about the Clan’s history, and how when a group of friends and family are so close, they begin to represent the powers of the Towers and Pillars,” Terra pointed out.
“I remember that, but I never thought anything of it. I always figured those stories were about people who chose to excel in a single element for magical balance,” Aislin stated thoughtfully.
“That may be the case with us…I’ve never really tried any spells with Water,” Terra stated, “…maybe I should try to scry?”
“I guess…but I don’t want you to get hurt, Terra,” Aislin cautioned.
“Oh, I’ve seen you do it a million times. How hard can it be?” Terra replied and disappeared from the room. She came back moments later with a bowl of water, which she set down on the floor. She knelt down and leaned over the bowl as she began to recite the words she’d heard her sister use so many times before. She tried to envision what it was she wanted to see. Show me Matthias, she thought to herself, and for a moment, she saw his smiling face in the water, instead of her reflection. He was changing for bed, but the water grew muddy and she could no longer see him.
Instead, she saw a group of odd beings, walking through a forest. She could faintly hear voices, and one of them sounded like Trinity. She leaned closer, trying to hear better, only to see the group be attacked by winged creatures. Terra let out a cry of terror and jumped back, landing hard on her right wrist as it flew out to brace her. She winced in pain, and realized the ceramic bowl had shattered and the carpet was now soaked.
“Are you okay?” Aislin asked. She knelt down beside her sister, and helped her to her feet. Terra swayed a moment, but managed to regain her composure.
“I’m fine,” the brunette stated. “Let’s clean up before mom and dad barge in and freak out.” Terra knelt down and began to gather the bits and pieces of the shattered bowl, using a larger piece as a container to hold the smaller pieces.
“What did you see?” Aislin asked, noticing the terrified look on her sister’s face.
“Nothing,” Terra replied, and stood.
“Terra! Aislin! Hurry up, or you’ll be late!” Terra heard her mother shout from downstairs. Terra grumbled as she adjusted the plaid skirt of her school uniform. “How can anyone make this ugly thing look good?” Terra asked, turning slightly to look at the back of the skirt in the mirror, only to have her sweater thrown at her head. She managed to catch it before it hit her. “If you ruin my hair, I will shove you into the boys’ bathroom…then again, you might never come out,” Terra said thoughtfully.
Aislin giggled and rushed down the stairs, two at a time, while her sister followed, using the handrails to lift herself down 5 stairs at a time. The two rushed to the front door.
“Girls, your breakfast!” their mother cried.
“No time! We’ll grab something at school! Love you!” Terra cried and slammed the door behind her. The two made their way up the street, arriving at their stop just in time…ten minutes later. As the two managed to scramble to seats in the back, they spotted two of their friends already sitting there. Terra grinned and collapsed beside Matthias. Across the aisle, Aislin took a seat beside Trinity.
“You two won’t believe what happened last night,” Aislin said.
“What?” asked Trinity. She leaned forward a little so she could see over Aislin’s shoulder.
“Terra tried to scry last night, and the bowl shattered,” Aislin explained.
“Isn’t that dangerous?” Matthias asked, “…you’ve never shown an ability to scry before,” he pointed out.
“Yeah…but…I did see something,” she explained.
“You wouldn’t tell me anything,” Aislin accused.
“Well…it really was nothing. I saw Matthias, is all,” she lied.
Trinity crossed her arms and leaned back against the bus seat. She always could tell when Terra was lying…so why was she so disinclined to tell them what she saw?
Her thoughts were interrupted by two voices arguing as they made their way to the back of the bus. She rolled her eyes and waved to Hikari, who sat down on the seat in front of them, and swung her legs around the side so she could see her other four friends. Conleth sat himself across from her and crossed his arms. He didn’t bother turning around. The bus was pretty quiet this morning, so they could hear him perfectly if he talked loud enough.
“What’s going on?” Terra asked, eager to change the subject.
“Conleth’s being a moron…again. You won’t believe what he did to Zack at the stop this morning,” she stated.
“Zack? That loser, wanna-be gangster that keeps trying to pick fights with Conleth?” Aislin asked.
“Yeah. He took a swing at Conleth this morning…so guess who set his sleeve on fire,” Hikari growled.
“Tell me he used a lighter,” Terra said.
“Of course not,” Hikari answered.
“You moron!” Aislin yelled.
“Why are you yelling at me? It was self defense!” Conleth argued.
“What’s our main code of conduct?” Terra hissed. “Harm none! You could be kicked out of the Clan!” she warned.
“I forgot about that…” Conleth said, his voice hiding a layer of worry.
“I’m sure Grandpa won’t kick you out, but you’ll probably have to pay some form of price,” Aislin stated. “What did Rowan have to do when he sent that guy who was flirting with Melissa into the wall?” asked Trinity.
“I think he had a barrier placed on him so he couldn’t use his powers for a few weeks,” Terra answered. She looked up as the bus came to a stop in front of a small school. She stood and followed her friends off of the buss. “Time for homeroom,” she grumbled. “Meet by the bus after school! We’ll all get off at Hikari’s!” she called and rushed inside.
Chapter Two: The Spell
“Are we ready?” Terra asked as she and Aislin finished drawing the intricate circles in chalk on the grass. Terra managed to find a spell to make the chalk stay and remain visible.
“That will go away, right?” Hikari asked, eyeing the white chalk.
“It washes away, and it’s biodegradable,” Trinity replied. “So why is everything so intricate these days?” she asked.
“Yeah, didn’t we just read an Oath?” Melanie asked.
“There’s been some traitors in the family. The ritual is designed to root out those with bad intentions,” Aislin explained.
“Let’s hurry up before the rain washes away the circle,” Terra stated.
“Doesn’t your spell make it stay?” Conleth asked. Terra could sense the annoyance in his voice. She sat down on a small stool and busied herself with finding the pages in the large book that was sitting in her lap.
“I can only enhance the abilities of the chalk. Make it more vibrant or make it so it can write on a solid surface that’s particularly hard to write on. I can’t change its weakness. I can make it more resistant to water, so that it takes a long time to wash away, but I can’t make it completely waterproof,” she explained. Once that was out of the way, she motioned for Matthias and Hikari to enter the center of the circle. “No matter what might happen, don’t step in or out of the circle,” Terra ordered, “…or you will be rejected by the Mother Goddess.” She looked over the pages in the book and began to recite the words. To Hikari and Matthias, the words sounded like gibberish, but to the rest of the group, they were as clear as English.
“By the Five Pillars, I invoke the Rite of Induction. Mother Goddess, pass thy judgment upon these two mortals and find them worthy to join our Clan who worship thy name,” she stated and looked up. Her eyes flashed as a large shield of bright white light surrounded Matthias and Hikari. Her face became a mask of indifference as she watched power course through the shield, and through Matthias and Hikari. Matthias bit back a cry of pain, and comfortingly placed his hands on Hikari’s shoulders as she whimpered, but did not scream. They both knew that if they screamed, they would be rejected by the Mother Goddess. The spell’s power ripped into Matthias’ arm, causing the deep gash to bleed openly. Hikari’s cheek was slashed open, and Terra could see that her jeans were torn.
“Terra!” Conleth cried, jumping to his feet. He was about to step in, when Aislin grabbed his wrist.
“It’s the only way, Conleth! Don’t you dare interfere!” she scolded. Just as those words left her lips, the assault ended.
“Hear my words, and take your vow,” Terra began. Her eyes lifted to Matthias. With a wave of her hand a bubble formed around Hikari’s head, preventing her from hearing Matthias’ words. “What did you see?” Terra demanded of Matthias. He stared at her a moment, realizing that the cold in her voice worried him. He didn’t like seeing Terra this way.
“A woman,” he answered.
“Describe her,” Terra demanded.
“She was….beautiful,” he stated bluntly, shame in his voice for thinking of any woman other than Terra as beautiful, but Terra didn’t seem fazed. “She had dark hair…longer than Trinity’s, and deep emerald eyes…as green as the leaves of the trees in summer. She wore a white dress and a crown of golden flowers,” he finished. Terra smiled when he finished.
Terra waved her hand and the bubble disappeared from Hikari’s head. Terra demanded the same things of her and smiled approvingly when Hikari described the same woman.
“Do you swear to uphold the laws of the Mother Goddess? To harm none and to protect the earth in her name?” Terra asked.
“I do,” Matthias and Hikari said in unison.
“Do you swear your loyalty to the Clan of Munro? To uphold its laws and follow the orders of the elders to the letter?” Terra continued.
“I do,” Matthias and Hikari said again.
“Matthias Tressler and Hikari Katsuya, I hereby swear you into the Clan of Munro, may you bring honor to our family,” Terra finished. The light vanished from around them, and their wounds were healed. Terra swayed a bit and it took a moment to regain her composure. Matthias began to move toward her, then remembered the circle about them and stopped himself. They were not done yet. There was one last thing before they could exit the circle. He watched as Terra lifted her hands and the scent of pine needles filled his nose. He wrinkled his nose and covered it and his mouth as he sneezed a few times. Terra moved her arms out to either side, as if she were turning her body into a cross. The book floated before her and opened to a page. She spoke, and Matthias was surprised when the ancient language he was so used to hearing didn’t leave her lips, but instead, plain English…at least, that’s what it sounded like to him.
“You have welcomed these two into your arms, dear Mother. They swear their loyalty to you, and to our Clan. Lend your power and mark their arms. Give them the symbol of our family.” She said. Matthias looked down at his arm, surprised as what seemed like a tattoo formed on his skin. The runes each glowed with their own distinct color. Matthias lifted his gaze, as water mixed with the glow. He turned his eyes to the sky, only to close his eyes and look away as water fell into his face.
“Shit!” Conleth cried. He looked at Terra.
“We’re not done yet! No one move!” Aislin cried.
“By the symbol upon our arms, we-” Terra began, yelling over the rain as it beat down around them. A loud crack filled the air and Terra let out a scream, hugging the book to her chest. A brilliant light shot down in front of them, slamming into one of the trees.
“TERRA!” Matthias cried, rushing out of the circle to Terra, throwing his arms around her. Fire roared in front of them as Terra stared at the now burning tree. She could hear Hikari’s mother calling from the house.
“We need to put out the fire!” Trinity cried. Terra nodded and threw a look to her sister. Aislin hesitated a moment, then bit her lip in concentration. The rain moved in a new pattern, circling around her in a violent, miniature hurricane. She lifted her hands into the air and the water burst forward, as if from a fireman’s hose, lapping down on the fire. Terra watched worriedly, though she smiled as her sister’s spell took hold and the fire was left to nothing but a few sparks, which Conleth scooped up into his fingers, only for it to vanish.
“C’mon, let’s get inside,” Matthias ordered, and pulled Terra toward the house.
“You kids are lucky,” said the accented voice of Hikari’s father. Terra, Aislin, and Hikari were all wrapped in blankets. Aislin kept shrugging the fabric from her shoulders, loving the feel of the water on her skin, and how it weaved through her blonde hair. Terra looked exhausted, and she just wanted to curl up into her warm bed and sleep for a few hours.
“I’m going to call your mom, Terra. I think her van’ll be big enough to get you all home,” Terra heard Hikari’s mother say. She nodded.
“I’ll call my dad. He can take Con and I home,” Matthias stated. He kissed the top of Terra’s head, and disappeared from the room long enough to use his cell phone, then returned.
Hikari waited for her parents to leave the room, and then she spoke, a quiver in her voice that surprised Terra. “That lightning…it felt like it was targeting us,” she said, staring at the cup of hot chocolate in her hands. She lifted her eyes to Terra.
“Legend says that sometimes, natural forces like that are drawn to magic,” Terra said.
“What do you do? Memorize that book?” Conleth asked. It was obvious he was a little angry about the whole ordeal.
“I’ve had a lot of time on my hands,” Terra replied. She looked at the group of them a moment, and was about to speak again, when the world around her rippled. Terra was no longer in the living room of Hikari’s house. Instead, she stood in the center of a forest, screams filling the air around her. She turned and looked at what was coming her way. An army of creatures that looked human, but their hands and feet were chubbier, and seemed almost too big in proportion to their bodies. Their heads were the same way. Terra stumbled back a few steps and let out a scream as one of them leapt at her. She lifted her hand. “Èirich!” she cried. Vines lifted from the ground to snare the creature, but the creature moved through them as if it were a ghost. Fear filled Terra’s eyes and she clamped her eyes shut, awaiting the inevitable.
A sword ripped through the creature’s chest, and a hand grabbed her arm, pulling her onto a horse. Terra’s eyes opened and she stared at the young man who had saved her. He was handsome, and Terra felt red paint her cheeks. Silver-white hair accented his angular features, and serious, blue eyes sparkled beneath his bangs. Upon the cuirass of his armor was a symbol like nothing Terra had ever seen: A dragon rampant, and the ten-pointed star of her Clan’s symbol.
“Don’t you know anything?” the rider cried, glaring down at her. “Magic doesn’t work against gnomes!”
Terra was about to ask him what he was talking about, but the battle was over as soon as it had begun…at least for Terra. The man shoved her off his horse and climbed out of the saddle. “There aren’t many who can use magic,” he stated, lifting his sword. Terra took a step back, looking for anything she could use as a weapon. “Who are you?” he asked.
“Terra,” she answered, thinking it best not to lie to him.
“Interesting name. What does it mean?” he asked.
“It means Earth,” she explained, not sure what this had to do with anything.
“Do you know who I am?” the man asked.
“Of course not. How could I? You just met me,” Terra replied.
“Ye’ll address the Prince o’ Twilight City with more respect, girlie!” cried one of the men.
“Prince?” Terra asked.
“Yes. I am Prince Ocisefeg Lazuli,” he stated.
Terra took a step back. “That’s nice,” she said, “I’m…gonna go…” Terra stated and she rushed off at a run. The men were about to run after her, when the prince told them to let her go. Terra stopped just outside a large stone gate, panting heavily. “What the hell is going on here?” she asked, knowing that no one would give her an answer. She finally found an entrance into the gate, and in she stepped. She looked around, at the torn houses, the battered and dirtied people. Fear struck Terra. Where was she?
“Welcome to the Beggar’s Nest,” said a ragged, female voice. Terra stared at the old woman a moment, unsure of what to make of her. She only then realized how many people were staring at her, and her strange clothes. Terra felt fear truly come over her. Where were her friends? Where was her sister!? She took off at a run, once more. She slowed to a stop outside of a small inn. With a sigh, she opened the door and slid inside.
The common room was filled with people: men drinking, with no regard for their health, or their clothes. Terra had to cover her eyes. One of the men was stripping down to his loins, and Terra felt sick. It wasn’t until someone grabbed her arm that she uncovered her eyes. She turned and stared into the face of the young prince.
“Are you stalking me?!” she demanded.
“Hardly,” the prince growled.
“Let me go!” Terra cried and tried to pull her hand away. When she finally did slip it from his grasp, she stumbled backwards, and tripped over two men wrestling on the floor. The prince moved to catch her, but he was too late. Terra felt her head slam against the wood floor. She groaned and stared blankly as two children loomed over her, and consciousness finally left her.
“…Terra?” Aislin inquired, staring at the open-mouthed form of her sister. Terra shook her head and looked up at her friends. She looked toward the window. It was still raining outside, but it was dark now, and their mother stood in the doorway, soaked to the bone from the heavy downfall.
“Terra, are you okay?” Trinity asked. She stood and moved toward Terra, but the shorter brunette shook her head.
“I’m fine,” Terra lied. Trinity met her eyes and Terra knew the older girl could tell she was lying, but Terra had no inclination to divulge the truth. Not right with Hikari’s parents in the room, and certainly not when she was unsure of what had actually happened. Terra quickly gathered her things, waited for Aislin, then followed her mother out of the door. Aislin, Melanie, and Trinity weren’t far behind her. Each of them made a break for the car, trying to beat the rain drops, as if it were possible to get through without getting wet. Terra moved slowly, not caring that she was soaked to the bone by the time she reached the car door. The sounds of American Country music filled her ears as the doors opened and she lifted herself into the front seat. Her eyes stared blankly out of the window as she closed the door and buckled her seatbelt. Trinity said something about a new episode of a Japanese cartoon series that had recently aired on TV, but Terra ignored it as Trinity tried to explain the plot of the entire series to Melanie, who had no time for such obsessions. Aislin piped up about another series and the conversation melted away from there.
“Terra, are you alright?” she heard her mother ask.
The brunette simply nodded and went back to her thoughts. She couldn’t get the prince’s face out of her mind. His eyes had been so intense, it was as if he was looking into her eyes and seeing the world she came from…a world he’d never get used to, she surmised. Cold air filled the car as Terra realized they’d arrived at Melanie’s house. She snapped out of her stupor long enough to say goodbye. She didn’t slip back into her brooding state until after they’d dropped Trinity off.
“I expect you to call me tonight,” Trinity stated to Terra, “…and tell me what the hell happened,” she added in a whisper. Terra nodded, forcing a weak smile. When Trinity was inside, Aislin began singing with the radio. Terra, on the other hand, went back into her thoughts.
That night at dinner, Terra found herself sitting among all her siblings. Her sister, Mari, had come to visit for the evening, bringing two books for Terra to read and a handful of comic books for Aislin. The brunette ignored it for the most part, concentrating on what she had seen at Hikari’s house. A strange kingdom….Twilight City? The Beggar’s Nest? Where had all that been? Gnomes? Weren’t they a player race in Dungeons and Dragons? She felt so confused, but she had more to worry about than just her strange visions.
“So have you and Máta decided on a date yet?” Terra heard her mother ask. Mari looked down at her lap, resting her hands on her knees. Terra knew her sister had been putting the day off for the fear that Máta’s mother would interfere again. Terra and Aislin didn’t know much, but they knew it wasn’t going well. Mari had been overusing her powers to relieve the stress on Máta. Terra finally stood and excused herself, ignoring the protests from her mother that she had barely eaten. She made her way up to her and Aislin’s room, and closed the door. She changed and collapsed into bed, letting sleep overcome her.
“So is the ritual complete?” Hikari asked.
The group was thankful for a Saturday when the lot of them could get together. It was a particularly warm afternoon, and the cloudy sky threatened them with rain. It didn’t seem to bother anyone in the group, though they were all seated on the roofed chair-swing in Trinity’s back yard. Aislin seemed to be the only person who wasn’t worried about getting wet.
“Yes…the tattoos are complete and it seems like the Mother has accepted you,” Terra replied. She had spent the past five minutes inspecting the tattoos on Matthias’ and Hikari’s arms. She looked worried, but no one noticed how she had phased in and out of normal Sight. She looked over at Trinity a moment.
“Did…anyone experience anything yesterday?” Terra asked.
“Like what?” Conleth replied. There was a layer of annoyance in his voice. Terra narrowed her eyes at him. His tone played everything off like it was a game and he was tired of playing.
“Like visions,” Terra finally answered, crossing her arms. She met the eyes of each one of her friends…and their eyes told her no one had seen what she’d seen. She met Trinity’s questioning gaze, but said nothing for a few moments. Should she tell them? It wasn’t like she was insane. She HAD been there…right? Terra turned her gaze back to the group and forced herself to smile.
“Maybe I was just tired…the initiation does take a lot out of a person,” she said, shrugging off her worry. Perhaps that was all it had been. Now that she thought about it, it seemed like the whole dream was something out of one of her video games. As the rain began to drizzle, Terra pulled her arms in tighter. She felt cold, despite the warm afternoon air. Was it the rain? She wasn’t wet. She stood, and pulled her cell phone from her pocket to check the time.
“Conleth, it’s almost four o’clock. You’re gonna be late,” Terra pointed out. Conleth checked his watch and sighed. It was obvious he didn’t want to go home. They all exchanged hugs and Conleth left. The rest of them headed inside. Terra had to smile when she spotted Trinity’s two younger brothers playing a video game in the living room. When Aislin joined them, her smile widened.
Arms wrapped around Terra’s waist and she was pulled from her thoughts. Her chocolate eyes closed and she leaned back against the warm chest. If one thing could make her feel better, it was usually Matthias. She smiled and turned her head, leaning to the side enough to see into his eyes. They stayed like that for a few moments, as if communicating wordless conversation, searching each other’s faces for the love they both felt for one another.
“We need to get going if we’re going to make the show,” he stated and Terra nodded. She moved over to her sister and patted Aislin’s shoulder. The shorter blonde looked up to see her, and Aislin smiled.
“I’m heading out. Call dad as soon as you’re ready to get home. Don’t forget your curfew,” she stated. Aislin nodded, and the group exchanged goodbyes. Terra followed Matthias out to his car. When he opened the door for her, she laughed a bit and moved over to kiss his cheek. She climbed inside, and waited for him to reach the driver’s side. The ride was fairly quiet. They said very little, though Matthias tried to make conversation by commenting on the game the boys were playing. Just as they reached the theater, he parked the car. When Terra went for the door, the lock clicked a moment, preventing her from opening the door.
“What was all that about, Terra?” Matthias finally asked.
“The questions earlier? The ones about visions. What was all that about?” he elaborated.
“Well…” she began. Could she tell him? He’d think she was crazy! They all would, but when she looked up into his eyes, she found it far too hard to lie to him. She sighed and hung her head. “I’m not really sure,” she finally admitted. “I think it was just a side effect of what happened with the spell yesterday.” It wasn’t a complete lie. She was sure it was a side effect, but she wasn’t sure how serious the side effect was.
“What exactly did you see?” Matthias asked. Terra bit her lip and stared at her lap. She wasn’t sure exactly how to say this to him, but she began to relay everything she had seen to him.
“I had a good time tonight,” Terra admitted as Matthias walked her to the door. He smirked and pulled her close to him. Terra was about to say something else, but she found his lips pressed hungrily against hers. She knew what he was getting at. Her mind screamed at her to stop him before things got worse, but she didn’t want the embrace to end. His hand slid to the edge of her shirt and she felt his fingers against the skin of her belly. They slowly moved upwards. Finally, she gave into her better judgment and pushed him away.
“Matt, stop,” she said.
“Ter, what is it?” he asked, “I’m not going to hurt you.”
“I know that. I’m just…I’m not ready, Matt,” she stated. Matthias heaved a heavy sigh and took a step back.
“Alright, Ter. I’m not going to force you. I do love you, you know that, right?” he asked. Terra nodded and left a gentle kiss on his lips.
“I’ll see you Monday, alright?” she replied. She watched Matthias return to his car and drive off. After a few moments, she headed inside, and made her way up to her bedroom. It didn’t take long for her to change and disappear beneath the covers. As she closed her eyes, the world began to melt away. Part of her hoped she woke up in her own bed.
“My head…” Terra groaned as she sat up. She looked around the room a moment. Wait…this wasn’t her bedroom! Where was Aislin?
“Good, yer awake,” a female voice stated. Terra looked over to the window, and there a woman stood in torn clothing that needed a good wash. The woman had graying brown hair that was pulled into a low ponytail. The wrinkles on her face betrayed her age, but she had a softness to her that made her seem motherly.
“Where am I?” Terra asked.
“Twilight City, ‘o course. Ye had a nice bump on the ‘ead. ‘Is Majesty brought you in ‘ere ter rest,” the woman explained.
“Oh…shit…” Terra muttered.