White pure skies above, white chrysanthemums as far as the eye could see, below. That was all that existed in this place. There were no birds to be heard or any other creature. A complete world of silence.
Zayne could not remember how he came to be here or why the only thing he knew for sure was that this place gave him a feeling of strong nostalgia with every flower he looked upon.
Suddenly a soft gust of wind disturbed the flowers and brushed against his face. He closed his eyes relishing in the momentary peace this world gave him.
With a start, Zayne’s eyes shot open. He looked around, trying to search for the source of that voice. It sounded like it belonged to a girl, but he did not see anyone else around – only the flowers.
He spun around once more, this time however there was something there, two large black doors. The world seemed to become a shade darker, apprehension blossomed in his heart and refused to let go. For some unspeakable reason, he was afraid.
“…Zay…ne…” The voice was coming from the door, he was sure of it. It sounded more insistent – desperate.
He walked forward. With every step he took, it seemed as if everything was coming out of focus except for the door. It appeared to be made of black oak, two silver latches in the shape of a lion’s resided in the middle of the door and engraved on the wooden surface was a depiction of a cloaked being with eight large wings on their back. Zayne grabbed hold of the silver latches, then pulled, splitting the eight winged being in half. As the doors opened a bright golden light started seeping through.
“ZAYNE!!!” The voice screamed and the world shattered like glass. With nothing to stand upon, Zayne fell into the bottomless void, white chrysanthemum petals accompanying him on his descent.
“…Zayne…don't…leave me…please…” The voice pleaded, but he was already too far away. Zayne closed his eyes, accepting the darkness in its entirety.
Then there was nothing at all.
Zayne opened his eyes. He pressed his hand against his face, attempting to calm himself down. Just a dream… He thought.
He then took in his surroundings; a small campfire smoldered a bit away, ruins of a long-ago crumbled tower surrounding the small encampment, and light from the three moons – Urdr the oldest white sister, Verdandi the middle azure sister, and Skuld the youngest ruby sister – beamed down upon him as if they had been spying on his dreams. After taking everything in, he noticed that someone – or more accurately something – was missing from the campsite. With a deep breath, Zayne called out to the darkness. “Ouroboros, where are you?”
The once smoldering fire blazed to life, instead of its usual crimson flames it was blazing a magnificent violet, casting large threatening shadows all around. With a life of their own, the shadows started to gather, forming to create the appearance of a large wolf completely made of shadow.
One of its most favorite forms.
“You called for me?” The creature spoke in low whispering tones as if it did not want to disturb the quiet of the night. Every syllable held a kind of secret power and hinted at an existence far different from anything that resided in this world. This enigma was Ouroboros, Zayne’s companion for the last four years. Even though they had shared each other’s company for so long Zayne knew little of the creature, however, there was nothing else in this world that he trusted more.
“How long have I been asleep?”
“About ten hours, Urdr and Skuld completed their last rotation around Verdandi not too long ago.”
“I see…” Zayne stood up and proceeded to pack up the campsite. With a smooth motion, he grabbed hold of a black cloak that had been acting as his bed and wrapped it around himself. The poor thing had seen far better days for sure, but now it was a victim of nature and neglect. I should really procure a new cloak…and new clothes for that matter. Black leather, cloth, and pieces of armor adorned him from the neck down. It was not the kind of attire a knight of a king would wear, focusing more on mobility then defense. Even though he would have been more than happy to change his equipment, something always stopped him, a simple enough thought that never made him change. This is all I have, from before...
Ignoring depressing thoughts, Zayne walked over to the fire. Without hesitation, he stuck his hand into the heart of the violet flames then pulled his hand right out, now grasped into a fist. What remained of the campfire quickly crumbled to ash, but the violet flame continued blazing through his fingers. Not burning him at all.
“Ouroboros, catch.” He tossed the flames to the shadow, that opened its mouth to receive it. Within seconds the shadow started to take a more physical appearance, no longer did its body seem like shadow, but now it looked like a creature of blood, bone and fur. Two blazing violet eyes looked upon Zayne and a violet crystal appeared on its forehead like a small horn, it was that very crystal that he had given to the creature. He was not sure of the specifics, as far as he could surmise that crystal was a vital piece to Ouroboros – possibly its heart or maybe even its soul – Zayne couldn’t really say, and he doubted his companion would be willing to share.
Focusing back on the task at hand, Zayne proceeded to scatter the ashes of the campfire all around the campsite, mumbling under his breath as he went. Ever aware of Ouroboros observant gaze.
“You had that dream again.” It was not a question, but a simple statement of fact. Zayne just continued scattering the ashes. Though he could normally hide his true feelings from others easily enough, he could never deceive Ouroboros. “No, not the same. Something has changed. You seem more…disturbed than usual.”
Silence was all Zayne could give his companion as his answer.
After what had seemed like an eternity, Zayne completed his grueling task of scattering the ashes. He then slammed his hands together and spoke, but power resided in his words. “Προάγγελος, come.” As Zayne pulled his hands apart lightning and azure flames emanated from his palms, but in the center of all the light was a long black sword covered in silver hieroglyphs. Once the blade was fully formed, he grabbed the crystal adorned hilt, then stabbed the blade into the ground. The instant blade contacted earth, a pulse of azure flame burst forth, consuming all the ashes that Zayne had scattered around the campsite.
Once all the flames dissipated, Zayne pulled the sword from the ground and held it at his side. “Προάγγελος, withdraw.” The sword broke apart into fragments of small light that quickly disappeared.
Zayne gave a heavy sigh.
It was a tedious Artem, but greatly effective. What he had essentially done was erase any and all trace that he had been there. Yes, a trained hunter could come upon the campsite and plainly see that someone made camp here, but if his scent was not here, they would not know that he had ever been here.
Zayne could feel Ouroboros’ eyes staring at his back, waiting patiently for a response to his question. “There was a voice this time…a voice and a door.”
Ouroboros came to Zayne’s side. “Do you think it’s connected?”
It didn’t need to elaborate, Zayne knew perfectly well what it meant. “I don’t know,” The scream that he had heard in his dream echoed in his mind. “I hope that it isn’t.”
Silence hung in the air, an ominous silence, that was broken by his companion. “It is time to continue our journey.”
Zayne agreed, they had already overstayed their welcome. If they wanted to reach their destination without encountering any complications, it was best to leave now while the Artem was still in effect. “Let’s go.”
Ouroboros howled to the night sky, darkness surrounded Zayne. Before the cloud completely consumed him, something caught his attention out of the corner of his eye. A small patch of white flowers grew a small distance away, they were too far for him to say for sure, but he was certain that they were the same flowers that he had seen in his dream.
He reached out his hand, but he soon brought it back. Now was not the time to chase dreams. Then darkness consumed him once more.
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