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Chapter 4: The Journey Begins

I wonder where I am, exactly. His thoughts ran in that direction as he walked along in a straight line. He figured he won’t get lost that way and he’ll turn up near a village. Clothes torn and dirty, he looked a sight. Visions of his parents floated through his mind and the thought of never seeing them again filled him with despair. Mother, where are you? Where am I?

Where you are is here.
A voice responded to his sad thoughts. Justin halted in shock and quickly turned around to find…nobody. Thinking his imagination was running wild; he ignored it and continued onward. I don’t know where I am.

Where you are…is here.
The voice responded once again, this time from above him. Justin looked up to view the giant violets jutting out from the tall grass. He marveled at their beauty until one of the flowers lowered its bud and faced him. Amazement engulfed Justin as he realized the flowers were actually speaking to him. That was the voice that he heard in his mind.

Where is here exactly?
He looked at the flowers to see if the bud would open to actually talk, but it didn’t. He heard the voice once again.

You are in Hytine.
Justin took a look around once more before facing back to the violet that was speaking.

Where is Hytine?

Hytine is all around you.
Confused, Justin stared for a second as he tried to grasp what the flower meant.

What do you mean? I never heard of a place called Hytine.

Hytine is here. It is all around you.
A slight wind whispered through the grass, making what was said echo through it.

I’m trying to get home, so how do I get there?

Look to the fairies.

Look to the fairies? I don’t understand you,
what fairies? Fairies don’t exist.

Look to the fairies.
The thought flowed through all the flowers and Justin stood still, trying to understand what they meant. Shaking his head in confusion, he continued walking straight. He was trying to find a way out when he heard the beat of wings. He could have sworn he heard them before. In the wind that sucked him into this strange place. He took a quick look around and, spying no one, shook his head at his fanciful notions.

Feet aching, feeling tired and hungry, Justin realized how vast the field was and sat down to rest. Tears welled up in his eyes, but he furiously blinked them back. He didn’t want to cry even though there was no one to see him. Taking deep breaths, he leaned his head back to let the wind cool his face and closed his eyes in appreciation. Feeling better, he opened his eyes and saw a bright green light flitting around in front of him. Justin swatted the air to bat the light away and shook his head. The small orb flew close to his nose and Justin saw that it was a girl.

Wearing a short green dress with green shoes that curved at the toe and silver wings that beat furiously, she stared down at Justin. Curly green hair fell to her shoulders and her green eyes sparkled with joy as her green skin radiated a healthy glow.

“What is this?” he wondered aloud.

“This is nothing but me, young man.” The young girl floated closer to him and sketched a small curtsy. “My name is Lyssa, and I want you to know how hon-“

“Lyssa, telling tales can get you into lots of trouble,” a second voice interrupted. Justin turned his head in the direction the voice came from and saw a pink light dash up to the two of them. Up close, he saw that it was a boy wearing a pink shirt, pants and pink spiky hair. His eyes and skin was the same pink shade.

“You do not tell me what to do, Lyon.” Lyssa put her hands on her hips and glared at the pink boy. “I was just trying to let him know how much-“

“It is talk of the like that will get you into a world of trouble. Let Orion’s mercy be on you if she found out what you were doing right now.” Lyssa gasped at such a statement. Turning bright green, she flew towards Lyon, giving him a forceful shove.

“You dare to use his great name in that manner? Do you have a lick of sense in that small brain of yours? That you would dare to lecture me, I ought to-“

“Excuse me,” Justin shouted and they both turned to him in shock. “I’m sorry; it’s just that…I…” he trailed off as he stared at them in wonder. “What are you exactly?”

Lyssa and Lyon looked at Justin for a moment, before huddling up a distance away for a whispered conference. Lyssa kept looking back from time to time before, with a big sigh, she nodded to Lyon and they broke apart. They slowly floated back toward Justin, Lyssa a little shame-faced.

“I apologize, young boy. I did not mean to upset you in any way,” Lyssa muttered, looking down at the ground.

“Oh, you didn’t upset me at all. I’m just not sure of who, or what, you are.”

“My name is Lyssa, this is my brother Lyon,” she said, gesturing to the pink fairy. “Welcome to Hytine.” They gave Justin a formal welcome, Lyssa curtsying and Lyon bowing to the waist.

“Yes the flowers already told me where I was. I’m trying to find out what the two of you are, exactly.” Another whispered huddle started again, before they broke apart and looked at Justin.

“Well…” Lyssa began, but Lyon interrupted by floating towards Justin’s face.

“In all of Orion’s magnificence, have you never seen a fairy before?” The mocking tone had Justin a little flushed with anger. His hands balled into fists, but taking a deep breath, he relaxed them.

“No, I haven’t.”

“Really, you never saw a tiny magical being with wings on their back that flies?” Lyon’s serious tone belied the smirk on his face.

“Oh yeah, yeah I’ve seen them,” Justin replied in a sarcastic voice. “I’ve also seen unicorns flying around as well. Yeah, I rode on one yesterday.”

“They are wonderful creatures, are they not?” Lyssa clasped her hands to her chest and sighed. “They are simply wonderful.” Lyon laughed uproariously and Lyssa turned to him with a frown.

“Lyssa, can you not tell that he is joshing you? He has never seen a unicorn, just like us fairies.” Lyssa glanced at Justin to see him looking at them in shock.

“You have unicorns here?” Justin asked, wide-eyed. He couldn’t believe it, unicorns. Amazement filled his whole body. Lyon continued to chuckle at both of them and Justin’s amazement quickly turned to anger.

“Fairies and unicorns don’t exist where I’m from,” he said patiently, glaring at Lyon all the while. “I don’t believe in them and neither does the rest of humanity.” Lyssa gaped at Justin, her eyes as wide as saucers.

“There are no magical creatures in the world you come from?”

“I’m sorry, no there isn’t. Now can you tell me why I’m here and how I got here in the first place? What kind of wind was that anyway?”

“That was no wind, young boy. We were the ones who spirited you to our world.” Shock filled Justin’s entire body at the thought of what they had done to him. Now what am I going to do?

Justin stomped through the grass, highly upset. With their combined magick, Lyssa and Lyon mended Justin’s torn clothing. He could hear the two of them whispering, but he ignored it as he trudged along in the direction they told him to go. “Where is this place we’re trying to reach again?”

“We are headed to Dwarf Village to pick up Harmon. We will need him to help us with-“

“We’re going to a dwarf village?” Justin asked as he halted in his tracks. He whipped around to face Lyssa and Lyon. “A village that houses actual dwarves, that’s where we’re going?”

“Yes, what other village would it be called if it did not have dwarves there?”

“I just can’t believe…” Justin trailed off as he looked at Lyssa, completely ignoring Lyon. “So, where does he live exactly?”

“He lives past the Hyrone flowers, down that lane there.”

“Hyrone flowers, what are those?”

We are the Hyrone.
The voice whispered amongst the high grass. Justin stopped and looked up to see the flowers looking down at him.

That’s your name?

That is what we are. We are the Hyrone.
Lyssa flew up and caressed a petal from one of the Hyrone flowers.

“They are beautiful, powerful and majestic,” she said softly. “They have been here since the dawn of our time. We treat them with the upmost respect.”

“I understand completely. It’s just that flowers don’t talk where I’m from. Let’s be on our way.” They exited the grass and Justin saw that there was a dirt lane. The crazy fairies weren’t lying after all. They walked along for a while, following the sun as it blazed in the east. With Lyssa telling him the history of the Hyrone and its purpose in their world, they journeyed on that road through the day and most of the night.

Justin listened, enraptured as they built a fire, eating bread and cheese along with fresh, pure water. The water was cold and tasted so sweet to Justin that he went back for more. He wondered why their water tasted so delicious; he hated drinking water at home. Then he realized that a sound he was entirely used to was lacking here. He looked around and saw that there were no cars riding around or no planes in the sky. The lack of pollution made this world much cleaner than the one Justin inhabited. He inhaled deeply and smiled in delight.

Hearing the story about the Hyrone and what they can do humbled Justin. He fell asleep on the stories, dreaming of simpler times. His parents were with him in this strange world and they never fought or argued. They were as parents were supposed to be and he was filled with contentment. The siblings woke Justin at daybreak to continue on their travels. With the sun rising and moving each hour, they hurried to reach Dwarf Village before the next nightfall.

As the sun began to settle in the west, they encountered a wooden sign posted nearby. They walked over to the sign and read: Dwarf Village-1mi Pop. 320

Continuing on, they came across farmlands that housed little gray four legged animals with big brown eyes, long bushy tails, white whiskers and a claw on the chin. They looked like donkeys, but with the claw, Justin didn’t know what they were. He asked, but was ignored by both siblings as they flew past him, laughing. Justin ran to catch up with them, noticing small wooden houses and brick buildings that stood among acres of green grass. Flowers of many colors bloomed about and birds trilled their morning songs in the trees. Justin saw that the trees were half the size as regular ones and filled with jewel toned fruit. He reached up and grabbed one, biting into a sapphire colored apple that tasted tart like lemons. The little rivers and ponds that surrounded the area gave the village a storybook setting.

They continued on past little villages like this one and headed straight for the heart of town. Justin noticed that the houses started getting closer together and the open fields became fenced in gardens. There were little shops, restaurants and markets that, along with the houses, made up the entire town. The roads were cobblestone yet the sidewalks were made of dirt, which confused Justin completely. He saw another sign that read: Miniature Drive. Justin laughed uproariously, holding his sides as he bent at the waist.

“So ye be laughing at our sign, eh? Think it be a funny thing that we dwarves named a street ‘miniature’?” Justin halted his laughter and straightened. He turned in the direction the voice came from. Standing beside the fence of one of the houses, a small muscular man with wild red hair and bright green eyes was watching Justin candidly. Wearing brown pants, a white billowy shirt and buckled black shoes, he looked like a diminutive, harmless pirate. “Nothing to say now do ye, laddie? Yer laughter has run dry now, does it?”

“I’m sorry, but I just thought it was a little funny, sir. Surely you can get the joke, why else would you put that up? Are you Harmon, sir?”

“That I am, laddie. Harmon Harbuckle be me name and woodcutting be one of me games. Pleased I am to meet you, me bucko.” Harmon bent at the waist in greeting before slowly approaching Justin. “Now that ye be here, we can go on and right what be wrong with the place.”

“What do you mean?” Justin questioned. “Right what wrong, and what does it have to do with me?”

“Those dolts, they not be telling ye what yer doing here, laddie?” Lyon floated onto Harmon’s shoulder.

“We decided to wait until we meet up with Kyrie.”

“Ah, so ye be doing what she says then.” Harmon heaved a big sigh before swatting Lyon off his shoulder.
“Let me get me things then and we can head off.” With that, he turned and went through the fence, walking up the walkway to his home. He disappeared inside and Justin turned to Lyon.

“Who is Kyrie?” he asked Lyon. “What did he mean that we are going to right what’s wrong? I’m just trying to get home, that’s all.”

“Kyrie is our Queen, the head of our entire order. We are going to see her because if there is anyone who can help you get home, she is that fairy.”

“I still don’t understand why Harmon-“

“Never you mind about what Harmon said,” Lyon interrupted, glaring at Justin before heaving a big sigh. “Listen, I want to…apologize for my behavior earlier. I was out of line for being rude to you unfairly, so kreligum-marcapo.” He crossed an arm over his forehead, bent to one knee and bowed deeply while floating in the air.

“What does that mean?” Justin asked politely, warily watching him. What if it was an attack word?

“It means ‘I am sorry’ in fairine language.” Lyon straightened and flitted onto Justin’s shoulder. “I sincerely am, Master Justin.”

“Thank you Lyon, I appreciate that.”

“Ah, it be a fine thing to see two friends becoming,” Harmon said with a big grin on his bushy face. Lyon turned bright pink before flying off Justin’s shoulder, heading further down the road. Justin looked after him a moment, before turning to Harmon.

“Is he going to be okay?”

“Aye laddie, he be just fine. A bit embarrassed he be at getting sighted being nice is all. Think nothing of it. So, shall we be on our way?” They both turned to watch Lyssa fly over to them, looking slowly around.

“Where is my brother?”

“He went off in a rage, mammie. He be back in a jiffy, ye will see.” Lyssa opened her mouth to reply, but shut it when Lyon flew back and floated next to her.

“You better be on your way to let Queen Kyrie know that we are coming,” he said.

“I am sure she already knows,” she replied. “But I will go on ahead.” Lyssa looked at her brother a moment before vanishing. Astonishment covered Justin’s face. She was here one minute and gone the next. Harmon squinted into the orange glow of the sun before looking at his two companions.

“Shall we be off then?”

After walking along the lane, waving to the dwarves who came out of their homes to greet them, they finally passed the town and encountered open land. The grass was dewy, the air was fresh and beautiful flowers sprouted all around. Justin inhaled deeply as a peaceful feeling entered his heart. The three travelers chatted amiably as they walked by daylight and rested at night. Harmon regaled Justin of stories about himself as a young man and all the journeys he went on.

Their nights were filled with laughter about Harmon’s days as a real pirate and the misadventures he always seemed to be in. There was the time he bartered Gummy rum in the Kikolo Islands, the mermaids that rescued him when some barmaids stole his clothes, the Troglodyte Harmon rode on to help out his sea mates. Justin also heard about the treasures Harmon found, the friends he lost and the villains he fought. After a while, Justin began to become envious of the rich life Harmon led. For such a small man, he lived life to the fullest. Justin hoped to have as many adventures as Harmon when he finally became an adult.

After three days and nights, they finally reached the edge of the forest that Justin spotted in the cave on his first encounter of this world. Harmon called for a stop and sent Lyon to find discarded wood for a fire. He then began to dig a ditch for the fire to be lit in, so the greenery would be unharmed. Justin chose to lie down and wait for Lyon to return.

“Why are we stopping here, Harmon?” Justin asked, feeling a slight pull to stand and enter the forest. “What place is this?”

“This be the Forest of Forgetfulness. Many a person has wandered into it and lost their way.” They both glanced at the forest, which seemed to posses its own darkness. The trees looked dim and a slight fog snaked through the grass as small whispers slowly invaded their minds. Harmon turned his gaze back to the ditch as he continued, “It be best to travel it by daylight, so we will camp here for the night.” Justin opened his mouth to ask another question, but quickly shut it when Lyon came back with the firewood. He dumped the wood into the pit as Harmon pulled out a black velvet pouch. Lyon sat on Harmon’s shoulder as he stuck his hand deep inside the pouch, rummaging around. Justin gaped in astonishment and sat up to watch Harmon dig until he pulled out a small, ruler sized stick. It had weird markings and shapes designed onto its polished oak.

“What is that?” Justin asked in wonder as Harmon leaned forward towards the pile.

“This be my cantara. It was given to me as a wee lad and I been using it all me life.”

“What do you plan on doing with-“

“Quiet lad,” Harmon interrupted. “I need to concentrate. ‘Hail to Orion, all of life’s sire. Bless me, Orion. Bless this here fire’.” The tip of the stick glowed red hot before a spark shout out and landed on the wood pile, igniting it instantly. Amazement filled Justin at the magick that just occurred. Harmon once again dug into his pouch and pulled out hunks of fresh meat. He fashioned a spit, using the rest of the wood that Lyon brought and placed the meat upon it. After it browned to Harmon’s liking, the three travelers settled down to eat. Justin ate until his belly was full, hunkering down with a big yawn. He felt so sleepy and the starry night sky was soothing as he gazed up at it.

Come to me…..
Justin looked around, wondering where the voice was coming from. He glanced towards Harmon and Lyon who were talking and saw it wasn’t them. He was about to lie down when the voice spoke again.

Come…to me…..
Gazing around again, a chill roughened Justin’s skin as he tried to find out who was calling to him. He looked towards the forest, feeling the same pull he felt earlier. It was stronger now that the sun was gone and Harmon’s voice was getting tinny in sound.

Justin was torn between lying back down and ignoring the words or getting up and walk towards the forest.

The pull was getting stronger and Justin looked towards Harmon again. He saw that Harmon and Lyon were a distance away. When did that happen?

The pull grew in power and Justin stood up. After one long look towards the others, he stepped into the darkened forest. He never noticed the copy of him lying asleep next to the others.

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