Chapter 7: One Night in Nabo'lan
The foursome walked along the path in the Forest of Forgetfulness, with Kyrie taking the lead. The inner power that she wielded made for a great beam of light through the darkness. Creatures that slithered close upon their approach, screamed in agony at her light and scurried back into the dark. Kyrie was taking them to Nabo’lan, the fairy castle that was located in the middle of the forest. No one really knew how deep the forest was. It could take days to travel it from end to end, or it could literally take years. The forest grew and diminished at will, no one in Hytine knew why.
Many creatures inhabited the forest, both great and small. The trees were so high; you could hardly see the sky that blanketed them in darkness. With one glance it seemed the trees were normal size, until you looked again and saw how high they towered over you. When Justin questioned the weirdness of the situation, Harmon replied that the trees grew in size at every opportunity. He also informed Justin about the reason why the trees grew and shrunk to different sizes. It gave Justin a fierce chill to think of creatures of enormous sizes hiding out in the Forest of Forgetfulness. Lyon was perched upon Kyrie’s shoulder and Harmon took up the rear, axe gripped tightly to protect them from any being who might decide to attack.
“Why are we going to this castle of yours?” Justin asked as they made their way along the path. He heard the scuttling of creatures that hungrily watched their progress through the woods.
“It is because it is the safest place in this forest. Many who serve her inhabit these woods, so we must go to the place where I rule. She would not intrude upon us there.”
Justin wondered just who she was, but decided to keep quiet as he heard a low growl. He knew he heard it earlier when they started to travel through the forest. It dawned on him that they were being followed, and by that beast that almost attacked him. He knew it was the same monster, he could feel it in his bones. What was that creature and why was it following them?
“It was the Darkar, the beast that attacked you,” Kyrie answered. Justin halted in shock as he realized the queen could read his thoughts.
“What is that?”
“The Darkar be a multi-beast that be birthed from the dark thoughts of those who are evil,” Harmon responded and Justin turned his head in Harmon’s direction. “It be summoned by those who wish to capture a soul.”
“So that creature was trying to take my soul?”
“Aye, that he was lad. Ye best be aware to avoid them for the next time.” Justin became silent in thought as they all continued on after that lesson. He hoped to never encounter such a creature ever again. Avoiding it wasn’t the issue; the beast was following them, not the other way around. He would be glad if the monster would leave them alone. That was the most frightening thing that happened in his young life and thinking about it now had the fear returning. It was quickly replaced by a light touch in his mind that bought warmth and peace.
Justin quickly looked up and saw Kyrie looking back at him. She gave him an encouraging smile before returning to her conversation with Lyon. The fairine-language that they were speaking had a beautiful lilt to it and Justin wished that he could understand.
They continued on their walk and Justin saw how the trees turned in their direction, watching as they passed by. It was creepy to see, but it was also exciting. Moving trees, it never happened on Earth. A giant black bird swooped down onto a branch. Its bright yellow eyes stared into Justin’s green orbs. A chill raced through his body. He turned his gaze away and focused on the walk ahead. He could feel the eyes of the bird on the back of his neck, like an itch between the shoulder blades. Helplessly, he took another look, but the bird flew away.
“We have arrived. Let us journey inside quickly before complete darkness falls.” Kyrie turned to them and Justin gazed up in shock. They were standing next to a silver tree that shone brightly like a jewel. Little steps started at the base and encircled the tree all the way up to a miniature castle that looked no bigger than a beehive. It was done in silver, gold and reflective glass. Yellow and red flags flew from the turrets and a banner with a fairy designed on it was draped across the drawbridge entrance.
“I do not mean to be a bother, but how are me and the lad fitting inside this castle of yers?” Harmon asked. Kyrie laughed softly, her smile sent a shot of warmth into Justin’s heart and he flushed in embarrassment. What was wrong with him? He’s seen pretty girls before, so why was he acting like this?
“Do you not know who I am, Harmon?” She raised her hands toward the sky. “Or was this a jest on your part?” Justin looked over at Harmon and saw that the dwarf was a little red himself.
“I mean no disrespect, mi’lady,” he muttered under his breath. She looked at Harmon intensely until he finally raised his glance to hers. She smiled at him again, a smile of reassurance and kindness.
“I know that you did not, good sir,” she said softly and he smiled in return. “Sena-encarta milani-thosin shrina-shortun.” Golden light shot from her fingertips, straight up into the sky. It fell like a misty rain on the foursome and Justin felt a light heat surround his body. He closed his eyes to slits as she continued in fairine, her body glowing as spoke her incantation. She shined like a golden sun and, though it was beautiful, staring directly at her would make the eyes burn. When Justin fully opened his eyes again, after a few minutes of silence, he screamed in wonder.
Justin was fairy size; it was a feeling that bought glee to his heart as he saw how tall the trees really became. Even the grass that he had walked on was now towering over him. Sounds that were ignored when he was human sized now boomed in his ears. He could hear a group of crickets chirping out a small tune. Beneath his feet, he actually heard ants chattering on a conversation. Justin wanted to search out an anthill and escape into a whole new world.
He wished that he could explore the many smells and sounds that were bombarding his senses, but he knew he couldn’t. He was trying to find his way back home; back to reality and his parents. Crummy as that reality was, it was still his. This world wasn’t the reality he knew, but he was still amazed that he was a fairy. Justin looked back and saw luminous wings attached to his body. Tightening his shoulder blades had the wings moving to and fro, it took him a moment to get the hang of it enough to fly. When he mastered it he shot straight up, flying in circles, feeling the wind on his face and laughing in pure delight.
He couldn’t believe that he was flying. It was the greatest thing that he experienced so far and he didn’t want the moment to end. He forgot all about the creatures that were stalking them, including the Darkar. At the moment, the wind embracing him and the lightness in his heart was all that mattered. Before long, Lyon flew up next to him, signaling him to descent but Justin shook his head. He didn’t want to stop his flight, but Lyon flew higher to hover over him. When they were in sync, he forced Justin downward through experience and the magick that the fairy had. Justin struggled with all his might, but it was in vain as he felt his body start to lower. Pretty soon, they both were descending towards the forest floor.
Justin hung his head in shame, imagining the anger that everyone must be feeling toward him. He hated that he was the one that was always causing trouble, but he never experienced the things he had here before. He didn’t mean to upset anyone, he really didn’t. He felt a soft hand on his shoulder and he looked up at the now fairy sized Queen Kyrie. She smiled in understanding and grabbed his left hand while Harmon grabbed his right. When all four joined hands, they ascended upwards to the fairy palace.
The grand doors were immediately opened and fairies of all ages came pouring out. They cheered as colorful streamers were thrown and the foursome entered inside the gilded kingdom. They walked down a grand hallway with marbled floors and high arched ceilings. Statues of fairy heroes were situated in little alcoves along the way. Justin was looking over the magnificence of it all when he encountered the gaze of a young girl.
She had violet eyes and long black hair that tumbled freely to her waist. She smiled at Justin before disappearing back into the crowd. Justin craned his neck to search her out as they turned left, entering into a great hall that was decorated in pure gold. From the walls and columns to the archways and chandeliers, all had a magnificent golden hue that signified warmth. The long table seemed endless and could seat the whole world. They reached the raised platform that had a smaller table for the royal family and close attendants. Kyrie walked over to a podium after Justin and Harmon was seated, she lifted her hands shoulder length and all fell quiet.
“Welcome to this feast of happiness,” she said after she lowered her hands. “Praise to Orion for granting us another day of life on this world.”
“Hail Orion!” The crowd shouted and Kyrie raised a hand for silence once more.
“We have with us today, the savior from the other world who will help us with our revolution. The soothsayers have foretold of his arrival and I for one am grateful that he is here.” She turned towards Justin, whose mouth was agape with shock as the crowd started cheering again. He didn’t understand what she meant; he wasn’t here to help anyone with anything.
Suddenly, he remembered his online game, Wizardry, and excitement rushed through his body. He was in a real life adventure, a fight of good against evil and he was to be the hero. Justin looked at the table seating the royal family and saw the dark haired girl whose gaze he encountered earlier. He also saw a golden haired boy along with an elder fairy female with luxurious white hair and piercing blue eyes. He continued to stare for a long moment, hoping the girl would glance in his direction. Harmon nudged Justin with his elbow and he realized that Kyrie was ending her announcement to the people.
“….and peace shall reign on Hytine once again, forever freed by the dark hand of Agathane. Freedom for Hytine!”
“Freedom! Freedom! Hytine! Hytine!” The shouts resonated throughout the entire hall. Kyrie turned and motioned Justin over. He stood slowly and crossed over to the podium, feeling every eye upon him. Kyrie took a step back and a footstool magically appeared. Justin climbed on it and looked out at the crowd as they quieted once again.
“Um, hello,” he said softly before clearing his throat. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do exactly, but I will try to do my best to help you with your revolution.” The hall was silent for a moment, and then someone began to clap. The clap was picked up from everyone in the hall and it erupted into thunderous applause. Kyrie stood next to him and raised a hand for silence once more.
“Now, everyone eat, drink and be merry. Our heroes need to rest and relax amongst themselves. Enjoy.” She shot out her hand and the table slightly groaned under the weight of the food that appeared on it. Haunches of pork, roasted potatoes, various cheeses and breads were placed on plates to enjoy along with various drinks. The crowd got down to enjoying the festivities as an elvi-band played flutes and harpsichords for entertainment. Kyrie lowered her hand and turned her gaze to Justin. Come with me.
Kyrie and Justin walked down a long glass corridor, with intricate designs structured onto the floor. It was previous battles that fairies fought; Justin also saw wolves, men who were half horse, men who were half bull, whale-like creatures with wings and other things that he never saw before, including men with skin of pure gold. It fascinated Justin so, but he pulled his eyes away to follow the queen as she turned left and approached a silver door. Two fairy guards were posted at the entrance; they bowed deeply and opened the doors to let the duo inside.
They entered into a huge circular room, with large windows that looked out into the Forest of Forgetfulness. A long serpentine creature passed over the moon that hung fat and white against the dark bowl of the night. A great fire was crackling merrily inside a huge fireplace that reached halfway to the ceiling and Justin walked over, enchanted. Shapes began to transform in the flames and turned into a beautiful face of a young girl. It was Vissa. She smiled sweetly and held out a flaming hand. Justin reached to grasp it, but Kyrie quickly pulled him back.
“If you wish to enter into Flamina for eternity, you may, but I think that you wish to go home more, yes?” She asked softly as she walked towards a sofa. Sitting down, she patted it and Justin crossed to sit down next to her. “I know this is much to ask of you, but our soothsayers foretold your arrival and said that you are the key to our victory.”
“I just don’t understand what I can do for you,” he said as he looked up towards the glass dome ceiling, watching the brilliant stars shimmer into existence. He looked back down to her again. “I’m just a boy, what is it that I can do differently from others?”
“Our worlds are just two of many parallel worlds that make up the infinite realms of worlds in space. Hytine and the world you call Earth are connected by a layer called The Between. It links two people from each world, though many from your world remain unaware.” Kyrie got up and walked over to a large window, looking out into the dense forest. She stood there for a moment before slowly turning back to Justin. “Hytine was once a peaceful place, where humans and creatures lived in harmony. It was ruled by a great sorcerer, Mikah, who governed these lands to make it equal for all.”
As she began the tale, Justin looked towards the fire and saw that pictures were forming again. He saw a handsome man, with the proud bearing of a great ruler who wore power well. “He had an advisor, a woman named Agathane, who helped create the laws. Inside her heart, she desired the position that Mikah held.” The fire transformed Mikah’s profile into a woman whose beauty was twisted with cruelty and greed. An arrow of fear pierced Justin’s heart as her glowing eyes seemed to watch him cunningly.
“She betrayed him, didn’t she?” Justin asked as he stared into those piercing, flaming eyes. The woman in the flames negatively shook her head and smiled at him.
“Yes she did, Justin,” Kyrie said as she walked over to the grate, staring down at the firewoman gazing hungrily at Justin. She closed her eyes and whispered in fairine and, with an angry shriek, the woman disappeared and the fire was just fire once again. “Agathane decided to spread discontent throughout the land, having the King and Queen assassinated, forcing them to leave behind a young daughter. She tried to have her killed, but Mikah had placed an enchantment on the princess that protected her for twelve years.” Kyrie opened her eyes once more and headed back to the sofa, sitting down gracefully.
“When Agathane realized that she could not kill the young girl, she imprisoned her inside her Ice Fortress. The world began to change after that. Evil was allowed to roam free and our once beautiful lands turned into something dark, more sinister. Agathane declared herself as dictator of these lands and she’s awaiting the twelfth anniversary of the princess’ birth to murder her.” Justin gasped in shock and violet eyes swung his way.
“That time is fast approaching,” she continued. “For when that hour comes, all the power that Mikah bestowed upon his beloved child will be easy for Agathane to capture for herself. She will then name herself ruler of these lands and Hytine will never be the same again.”
“Who is the young princess?” Justin whispered, though he feared he already knew.
“Yes,” she said softly as she raised a hand towards the fire. Immediately, Vissa’s face appeared and she smiled at Justin, raising a hand towards him in supplication. “You and Princess Vissa share the between of the two worlds, and that is why you are the only one who can rescue her.”
“What do I have to do?” Justin asked as he gazed into the soft flames of Vissa’s face.
“You must travel to the Tundra of Terror and release the princess from the Ice Fortress where she is imprisoned.”
“So, I must travel there alone?” Panicked, he swung his gaze back to Kyrie’s face. He couldn’t do this by himself; he just knew that he couldn’t.
“Of course not Justin, I will be traveling with you. I would not ask you to take this journey alone, so we will be joining you.”
“We, who is ‘we’?”
“Harmon, Lyon, myself, Brudan and Lalana are the “we” who will be traveling with you.”
“Who are they?”
“Brudan and Lalana are my siblings.” She stood up and snapped her fingers, causing the fire to return to its natural state. “Come, I would like for you to formally make their acquaintance. There was no time to do so at the banquet.” She headed to the door with Justin following her and turned right down the corridor. Walking for a bit through the labyrinth of the palace, they finally reached a wooden door with simple designs carved onto them. Kyrie placed her hand upon the door and slid it downwards, whispering as she did so, “Entaro.”
The latch unlocked itself from the other side and the door opened. She journeyed in and shut it once Justin ventured forth. They headed to a sitting area with antique furniture, where two fairies were waiting silently. “Lalana, Brudan; I would like to formally introduce the two of you to Justin.”
They both stood and turned in Justin’s direction. Both were dressed in white long sleeved shirts and black pants. Justin noticed that they both resembled their elder sister in different ways. Lalana, with the same violet eyes, smiled shyly at him before looking down at the floor. Brudan had the same golden hair as Kyrie, but with emerald eyes that gazed at Justin thoughtfully before turning towards his elder sister.
“I do not see how he can be of any help to us, sister.” Lalana whipped her eyes up to stare incredulously at her brother. That’s when Justin noticed that she had a blue mark of an eye on her forehead.
“He will be of great help to us all, Brudan.” Lalana looked towards Justin again and he blushed slightly. Her eyes were so pretty he couldn’t help staring into them. “He is important to the impact of the revolution. It is nice to meet you, Justin Devonshire.”
“How do you know my last name? I never told anyone in…this…world.” Lalana flushed bright red and Brudan stared at her oddly.
“Lalana can see into the minds of others, as well as into the future,” Kyrie explained for her sister. “That mark of the eye on her forehead is the mark of a future soothsayer.” Kyrie crossed to where Lalana stood and placed a supporting hand on her shoulder. Lalana looked up at her elder sister and Justin knew that they were talking to each other through mind speech.
“Let us retire to our chambers. We have a big start ahead of us tomorrow.” Kyrie removed her hand from Lalana’s shoulder. “We must make it out of Forgetful Forest before night falls. Lalana, will you show Justin to his chambers?”
“Yes sister, follow me please.” Lalana exited the room and Justin followed her. They took many twists and turns and Justin thought they would never reach the room assigned to him. They finally reached it and Lalana opened the door. With a sharp clap of her hands, the room alighted from the hanging gas lamps situated around the chamber.
The room was small, but comfortable with the bed made of soft goose feathers, piled with many quilts. The throw rugs that were scattered on the floor prevented one’s feet from getting cold. He had a bureau and a massive chest along with a fireplace next to an alcove that seated two people.
“Here is your chamber. Soon it will be warm but you must bear the chill for now.”
“Why do you call it Forgetful Forest? I thought it was the Forest of Forgetfulness. That’s what Harmon called it.”
“It is called both by Hytinians, since it means the same to us. Does it not mean the same to you as well?”
“Yeah, I guess it does,” he muttered as he flushed a little. Lalana smiled sweetly at him before crossing over to the grate of the fireplace. Signs of struggle flashed across her face before a flame sparked and became a quiet fire.
“You must be tired, so I will bid you a restful night with no dreams to hinder it. There is sleepwear inside the armoire that you can wear. Your clothes will be washed and pressed for tomorrow. Just leave it by the nightstand near your bed.” Lalana stared at Justin for a long moment. She slowly crossed over to him and kissed his cheek softly. Blushing, she quickly walked over to the door and turned back to face him.
“Good night, Lalana,” Justin said as he reached up and pressed a hand to his cheek.
“Good night, Justin.” She smiled at him again, before slipping out the door, closing it quietly. Justin yawned hugely as he changed into one of the white cotton shirts and pants he found. He crawled onto the bed and the softness of the feathers eased him into security. Yawning again, he drifted off into slumber.
Bright and early the next morning, Justin awoke and looked to find his clothes clean and pressed, as well as a couple of long sleeved beige shirts and brown pants. He hopped out of bed, quickly dressing in one of their outfits and stuffed the remaining clothes in a knapsack before rushing out the door. After asking a guard for directions, he reached the main corridor to find Kyrie and the others waiting for him. They were wearing clothes similar to his in muted colors. Spying green, he realized that Lyssa was here and he finally got to see her again. With a joyous shout, he ran to her and she turned, opening her arms wide.
“I am so happy that you are not harmed,” she squealed as she danced him about the corridor in a tight hug.
“Thank you, I couldn’t wait to see you again. Now we can all start our journey together.”
“I will remain here, Justin.” Lyssa released him and grasped his face in her hands. She smiled a little but Justin saw that she was fighting back tears. “I have to gather all of our fairy forces from all over the forest so we can be prepared for the battle that will soon come. I wish dearly that I could go with all of you, but I cannot.”
“We will see each other again, right?”
“Not even Orion himself can keep me away for long. I will see all of you soon; believe it with everything inside of you.” She released him and stepped back. “Now you all must be going,” she said briskly as she handed each of them a sack. “I have placed mannacakes and honeybread inside for you to break your fast.”
“Thank you Lyssa, your kindness is most appreciated,” Kyrie said as she chatted with her two main officers, wearing tan and gray. Justin caught Lalana staring at him, but when he turned her way she blushed and glanced off. “Let us be on our way then, shall we?”
Lyssa and Lyon hugged each other tight and whispered in each other’s ear. Harmon placed a soft kiss on her cheek before they embraced each other. Lyssa curtsied to the royal family before hugging Justin again and the group flew out of the castle and into the forest. Their journey has begun.