Whispers of the Sand.

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The Place Outside of TIme.

Yara made apologies to Jia while Girah worked his magic. Jia nodded to her and they shook hands. "I promise I won't do it again" Yara said earnestly, "I really won't."

"You may have to," Jia said, "Sometime, somewhere, in order to save lives; you may have to. Just make sure that you know when that time comes. And be prepared to deal with the consequences." Yara looked at her for along moment and then nodded. Girah stood up and dusted his hands.

"I found it," he said his voice tight, "It is like a black spot. A darkness in the world." He looked over at Jia. "This Sand needs to be destroyed, you know. How can we do that?" Jia shrugged.

"Let's just get that box first," she said, "Then we can figure out what to do with it." Magala gestured to sand in front of them and it began to rise and twist. They watched as she framed a massive Sand Beast.

"Get on," she said, clambering onto it, "Girah will ride with me and navigate." They all moved quickly onto the beast and Magala placed he hands on its back. And then it was off. Girah was whispering directions to her as the wind blew in their faces and their ears were filled with the soft sound of sand against sand as the Sand Beast glided its way across a strange desert.

It felt as if they had been riding for just a few minutes before Girah shouted that they had arrived. Magala gestured and the Sand Beast slowed and gently collapsed, depositing them safely on their feet. They didn't need to look for the box. They could feel the power of it, reaching up for them. Magala gestured again and the sand began to shift making a hole in the ground. Then the box emerged. Magala stopped as it reached the surface. They all stood looking at it; both repulsed and attracted to its power.

"Thank Farilahdanma," Jia said and reached down to pick up the box. She shuddered as she held it and looked like she wanted to retch. Girah spun around.

"We need to leave now," he said looking across the sand, "Someone is coming. I assume that it is him." Jia nodded and tucked the box under one arm. She reached into a pocket and took out a small vial of gold coloured sand. She placed it into the hand that held the box. Then she held her hand out to the others.

"Take my hand," she said, "Let's go." They took hands as before. Jia flicked the top of the Vial open with her thumb.

"We are not going to run?" Magala asked.

"We don't need to," Jia said and tilted the vial down. The sand began to fall, glowing as soon as it left the vial. They watched it fall and as it hit the ground the world around them spun wildly; blurring and the ground began to distort. They watched as the sand was replaced by dirt, then grasses. The grasses blended to become water and then the water erupted into flames and molten rock. Then the rock smoothed into a dark stone floor and the floor began to crack. White light speared out of the cracks and then the floor shattered into nothing but a glowing field of light. The sand stopped falling. They looked up to see that they were in a massive building made of glowing white rock. They turned to see massive steps leading up to a huge Dias. On top of the Dias there stood a figure. Jia let go of thei r hands and walked over to the steps. She placed the box down of the first step and walked back to them. They watched as the figure flashed once and then was at the bottom of the step. The tall woman, dressed in a gold dress looked at the box and then walked over to them.

"Welcome," she said, her voice low and melodious.

"Farilahdanma," Jia said bowing her head a little. Farilahdanma smiled at her and reached out to touch her shoulder.

"You have done well to bring this to us Jia Time Killer," the woman said, "Now your future and the future of your friends can be redone. No more will you need to bear the names that the Prince of the Dark Sand has caused you to have."

"You are the Woman Time," Yara said in a hushed, awed voice. The Woman looked at her.

"Even now you power grows, Yara Mind Slayer," she said, "But a Mind Slayer you will not become, if you will it. That course can still be yours if you take it." She then turned to Magala who had her fists clenched.

"For once these rocks and sands do not obey your call Magala Destroyer," the woman, "Your own will to control all will lead you down dark paths. You need to learn that you cannot have control over everything and that lack of control is not a weakness. Trust in the wisdom of others as well as your own." Magala let her fists fall open and nodded.

The Woman reached into her robe and took out a small vial. She handed it over to Horim. "Horim Life Ender. May you use this wisely. Your gift is one of life and not death. Follow the goodness of your heart when you learn the dark side of your art." Horim took the vial and gasped. He looked as if to speak but the Woman shook her head and smiled.

She moved to Girah. "Do you know where you are?" He nodded and swallowed hard.

"We are outside of time," he whispered, "We are nowhere and everywhere. I can feel it." She nodded. "Girah Death Seeker. Never forget that there is a place that cannot be found except with the heart. And when you find that place, never stray from it."

Then in a flash of light, Farilahdanma was back atop of Dias. She raised her hands and they saw her smile before the world went white.


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