The Journey To The Middle Stone

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Denail, Chapter 5: The wind changes

Author’s note: Hi there dear reader. After this chapter 1/5 of this story is done! Exciting, isn’t it? But I also have other news; after this chapter is out, I’ll have to take a small break from writing this. Don’t worry, I won’t stop writing this, but the things that I’m about to take up in this story. I’m not in the best place to write about them for now. Also uni is taking up most of my time. But as said, I’ll be back some day. I promise you that.

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“Hmmm…”

“What?” The witch scoffed at Aionos.

“Isn’t this interesting?”

“Interesting? You’re saying that you’re enjoying what is going to happen?” Aionos turned to look at the witch, and lifted up his right hand’s index finger. For a moment he held it up pointing towards the roof. The witch waited for his next move and slowly moved it down so that it was pointing at her.

“You’re getting too attached…, she has to make her own choices and you know that…”

“What I wouldn’t know? You know if I find out that you have played a part in this, like how they-”

“I may have, dear sister. But you have to remember…, nothing is set in stone…, and sometimes humans need some influence.”

“Roll your damn dice then and be over with it.”

“Very well…”

He rolled his dices. He was very intrigued over the result, and the witch just sighed. She for the fact knew that just like last time, Aionos would disappear and find himself in the middle of the chaos that was bound to happen. Because everywhere he went, chaos came after…, like a loyal puppy running after its master.

The god of time and faith disappeared.

There was a knock on the door.

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“Loreley!” Ciara shouted one more time as she felt the similar burning in her heart. Only if she could remember it from before.

“RUN!” Loreley’s voice turned into a roar at the end, and Ciara fell backwards. She couldn’t shut out the horrifying voices and screams that came from Loreley, or from the beast that had emerged from the inside and taken over the human form.

Ciara was scared and at the same time she felt her heart break in two. Again, so similar, like she would have been through it already before.

With shaking legs and tears in her eyes making her vision hazy she got up, and started running away.

Away from Loreley, Ciara ran and ran. As Ciara ran, the screams around her didn’t seem to fade away. In fact they seemed to grow louder and closer to Ciara. Panic taking over Ciara’s mind she tried to outrun the terrifying screams. Branches scratched her face and her hands as she ran past them. Eyes closed Ciara ran, and as she couldn’t see where she was running, she stumbled over something that sent her flying to the ground. The sand and small rocks burned on Ciara’s broken skin, but it got her to open her eyes.

As she could see the sight in front of her, she froze.

It was brutal.

It was raw.

It was chaos. Pure chaos. Some could describe it as pure madness.

Ciara wanted to scream but she couldn’t.

Werewolves in different shapes, sizes, colors, tearing into everything they could get their claws on.

The overly sweet, metallic smell in the air. It was too familiar. It made Ciara feel sick, and as she looked up at the sky, she could see that the moon had turned blood red.

“I need to get out of here…” Ciara muttered as she got up.

Suddenly Ciara felt an icy cold wind rush over her, and everything seemed to go into slow motion mode. The screams stopped, and Ciara could now look around more clearly at the brutal scene around her. In the chaos she swore to herself she could see Loreley. She was in her wolf form, but Ciara saw the small metal beads in her fur.

“Loreley…” Ciara whispered as she felt the tears burn in her eyes. Ciara wanted to go over to her, but something stopped her. A familiar voice.

She turned around.

Aionos.

He just stood there still, and they just looked at each other. Then he lifted up his arm so that Ciara could see what he was holding; it was an hourglass. And the sand was running out.

“So, what will you choose?”

“What…, what do you mean?” Ciara stammered out, and started panicking even more because she had no clue what Aionos meant. And the running sand didn’t make her feel any better. Something was going on, obviously, but what had she missed?

“I see…, but I hope this is the one for you…”

Aionos turned his head towards the hourglass, the sand had run out. Then the hourglass shattered, and Ciara looked terrified when the sharp shards of glass fell to the ground. Aionos gave Ciara one last look, before he disappeared again.

“What was the fucking point?!” Ciara screamed.

Once Aionos was gone and that scream had left Ciara’s lips, the slow motion mode was off.

I need to get out, Ciara thought as she tried to find a way out.

“Watch out!” She heard someone scream, but it came too late as something hard hit her head. Ciara started falling down and as soon she hit the ground, she felt like the ground was moving away from her.

“What the fuck”, Ciara whispered as she was in the grey woods again. Am I going mad? Ciara thought as she just wanted to burst out crying.

But something was different too. The fog people were there, but they didn’t dance or move. They just stood there still, as if watching what Ciara would do next.

Then Ciara saw two figures. One was see through verison of Loreley, and she was glowing too. The other had on a white cloak, like Vida. It was Vida!

Both were walking away from Ciara, but Vida stopped and turned towards Ciara. Loreley just continued walking, leaving a trail of blood after her.

Ciara couldn’t see Vida’s face, but she could sense her stare at her.

“My-” Ciara started, but was cut off as Vida lifted her arm, and pointed towards Loreley.

“ T o o l a t e . . ., a s i t is f o r m e . . .”

“Too late…? Vida, NO!” Ciara cried out as Vida started to fade away. Then she was gone. Ciara wanted to fall down on her knees and just give up on everything. Something though, had clicked in her mind and she knew she couldn’t just give up yet. So she started to go after Loreley.

“Just follow the blood…” Ciara sobbed. She could care less of the fog people now, even if she could sense their stares on her.

Wiping away the tears she walked, and she could see she came closer to the ocean. The soil under her feet became harder and now she was standing near a cliff. At the edge of the cliff she saw Loreley.

Ciara walked next to Loreley, and so they stood there in silence, just looking at the ocean that was surprisingly calm.

“Thank you for making my last moments bearble.” Loreley said quietly and turned to look at Ciara.

“I wish it wouldn’t have been your last.”

“There are things that we can’t change or control, no matter how much we would want it. I had a hard time accepting it, but I did it. You need to learn it too.”

“I don’t want to…” Ciara looked down, she couldn’t face Loreley’s look.

“I know. But we’re allowed to mourn, to feel emotions,” Loreley turns her look towards the ocean, “and this was my destiny, written in my blood you could say. To end my journey at the ocean. But from here, yours continues, Ciara.”

Ciara looked up and faced Loreley’s look. Loreley looked sorrowful yet calm.

“Remember how you got here.”

As Loreley had said that everything started to get blurry, and Ciara felt like she was sinking into darkness.

It didn’t last long, and when Ciara opened her eyes again, she could see a roof made of wood.

“Ah, you’re awake. That’s good.” When Ciara turned her head to the right, she saw a mountain fairy. With grey eyes the mountain fairy looked at Ciara. The fairy had on a grey shirt, black pants and boots.

“What…” Ciara started and wanted to sit up, but the mountain fairy quickly pressed her gently down again.

“Shh, you need to lie down. You took quite a hit to your head. And my name is Hilja, by the way. I saw your friends, they are coming here. Good thing they will find you alive.”

“They are here…?” Ciara asked, and Hilja thought for a moment before she answered: “I’m not sure. I could go see if they have arrived yet. In the meantime, you stay and rest here, okay?”

Ciara nodded, and so Hilja got up and left the room. As Ciara couldn’t hear Hilja’s steps anymore, she slowly sat up in her bed.

“My head…” Ciara groaned as she felt stinging pain in her head. She also found her bag on the left side of her bed and she took it into her hands.

“Hey there little buddy.” Ciara softly said as she saw Loki. Loki looked at her with its big eyes and flew out from the bag and landed on Ciara’s right shoulder. Then she took out the map from her bag, and Loreley’s words started to echo in her head: “Remember how you got here”.

I do, Ciara thought and with a twisting feeling in her stomach she got up from the bed and walked towards the door. As she opened it, she suddenly stopped and couldn’t move a muscle.

The sight in front of her.

Dead bodies everywhere. Injured men, women and children. Ripped clothes, claw marks on walls, ripped body parts. Gone were the wolves, but the humans stayed.

“Aye…, what a sorrowful scene.” The guard that had let Ciara in, said.

“It is…” Ciara answered quietly, and the guard shook his head.

“So many men…, so many men we lose in vain to this bloody curse. Women too, and younger ones, but as long as I have lived most of them have been men. Some seem normal and then snap, this disease takes over, when they can’t handle it anymore. It’s a bloody curse...” The guard shook his head and walked away.

Ciara took a deep breath, and regretted it instantly. The smell in the air made her want to throw up, but she managed to hold it down. Ciara felt Loki shiver, and so she started to walk towards the place where she had last seen Loreley. When Ciara got there she started to look for clues. On the ground she saw beads made of metal. As Ciara looked up from the beads, she saw broken branches and the thing that she dreaded most in the situation, blood that’s drying up.

So Ciara started to follow the traces of blood, and soon she came to a cliff that was near the ocean. At the edge she saw a body and she ran the last meters.

Ciara fell on her knees next to the body that belonged to Loreley.

Loreley had gotten paler and colder, her arms were covered up in blood. Cuts and scratches covering her body. Ciara couldn’t hold it in anymore.

She let out a piercing scream of anguish. It scared Loki, so he quickly flew off Ciara’s shoulder. Loki just flapped his wings and looked confused at Ciara who proceeded to lose it all.

“Curse you all! Curse this damned world! Fuck you all!” Ciara shouted and held Loreley’s body closer to her own.

“Ocean was your destiny, that I shall honor.” Ciara mumbeld, and then she remembered her map. It was still empty, and Loreley’s words haunted her.

The thought that had come up in Ciara’s mind, she thought it was awful. It wasn’t right, but…

Ciara pressed Loreley’s hand against the map, and it left a bloody handprint. Ciara watched as the paper soaked up the blood, and a map started to form on it. A resentful laugh left Ciara’s lips, then a small whisper: “This isn’t over”.

As true to her words, Ciara rolled up the map so that Loki could carry it. Then she lifted up Loreley and was surprised how light she was. Ciara carried her down from the cliff to the beach, and laid her down near the water.

Suddenly the water felt like it had gained life, since big waves formed so that they could reach Loreley. As the waves reached her, Ciara watched how the water lifted Loreley up and took her with it to the ocean.

“Your work is done, now rest.” Ciara said and sat down on the sand.

Then another realization hit her.

She buried her face to her hands, and started to shake. Then cry. Loki, even more worried now, dropped the map next to Ciara and landed on her hand.

“Oh, Loki…”, Ciara sighed and wiped away her tears, “Vida is also gone.”

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