Departure from Aetheria
The Blind Oracle stood over the navigation terminal, she typed in the last set of coordinates. “This accounts for the galactic drift that will occur during your journey, Lord Adamos, Lord Odini. Once you arrive, the Tear of Heaven’s Hope must be buried under the watchtower, to disguise it until it is time for the Children of the Tear to return home.” Her voice was calm and sure.
Lord Odini crossed his arms, “The spell to confuse the memories of our home will affect generations.”
“It is the only way, my Lord Odini. The City of New Hope is only meant to be a temporary sanctuary. When the time of the corrupted ice comes, an oracle will guide the lost prince on the dangerous journey to save the remnant of Aetheria. She will bring the Seeing Stone to guide the Children of the Tear home.” The blind oracle spoke from hindsight, not foresight.
Lord Adamos chuckled, “You sound more like an oracle every day, Fleur.”
Smiling at him in a sad, lost way she sometimes had, she agreed, “I have spent the last year listening to you and Mina speaking in metaphors.”
“Oracles always keep secrets,” Lord Odini growled.
"You would know, you're one of us too." She turned her scarred, clouded eyes to him, “Too much knowledge of the future causes more harm than good. Choices must be freely made and manipulating Time is not without consequences. Consequences we have yet to pay for. By using the Relic of Time, to help you save the Remnant from the Shadows, we have already altered what the Devourer purposed to change by sending the Shadows back. I still have to kill the last and face their Dark Siren Queen. I can only pray to the Light that I have strength left. Your escape gives me hope.”
“I will pray for you, Fleur. Remember your fate is not set. Do not let the Darkness overcome you and die here.” Adamos sounded grieved. “My son needs a future with you.”
Fluer tipped her head at him wondering if he had discovered her secret fate, then she decided he had not and smiled as if it were genuine. He needed to believe she still carried hope. “The Shadows can’t kill me, my Lord, they have tried and failed too many times. They always forget I can bend their power against them. I will finish my task, then I will go home and rest.” She promised, but in her heart she knew death here would be her final home and her final rest. Cheerfully she insisted. “Lord Odini, please tell your brothers to put the last of the children into the sleep chambers. It is almost time for your departure.”
Over five thousand years later...
High Lord Adamos, the last Oracle of Old Aetheria, stood looking over the City of New Hope, called Atlantia. It had been over 2300 years since the survivors of the last war had landed on this world, halfway across the spiral galaxy they called Axios. It had taken almost 3000 years to get the last 5000 Aetherians to safety. He missed his wife, Yllumina, she had been lost in the along with his daughter, Kalyssa. The senile King Xerxes himself had held his wife and daughter hostage to prevent the evacuation, so great was his mad delusion that their world could not be harmed by the great dark cataclysm spawned by their enemy. His wife, and the wives or sisters of his allies and many of their children had paid the price to save a remnant of their people.
His first two sons, Yurieth and Abrieth, had sacrificed themselves in the war against their dark enemy, The Siren Queen, and the bloodthirsty warriors of Xelusia. He never knew if the final battle was won before the cataclysm had destroyed both kingdoms, only time would tell. Time was something that had been at the heart of the war since the beginning, for those who controlled time, controlled destiny.
Adamos the fourth of the House of Adamos had never remarried once they arrived on their new world, unlike the other Aetherian Lords, and as a result, Adamos had never had more children... His only surviving son had been mere months old when they fled. As an Oracle, he had foreseen all the tragedies to befall their house into the far distant future through the visions shared by his sealed one. Lady Yllumina of Yophriel was the last High Oracle. She had seen that their grandchildren would be great warriors and leaders in the future war against the Darkness, but she had left him with a warning, should even one of their house become shadowed, great tragedy would follow and war would come before they were ready, and it would cost their son greatly. In her book, she had written:
If a son of Adamos passes from the light into shadows,
War will come.
It will cost his father his heart thrice.
Once he will lose his heart that beats.
Once he will lose his heart that breathes.
Once he will sacrifice his heart of light.
So that he may gain what is needed to help
his War Oracle destroy the Heart of Darkness,
And seal the Gate through the Realms forever.
For if they fail, all life, all love, all light will be devoured.
Adamos’ heart grieved every time he read Yllumina’s book of prophecies. He knew in oracle-speak, the first “IF” of a prophecy usually meant ‘when’. A dark portent confirmed by his other son’s sealed one. He grieved for the loss of one of his descendants, but most of all, he grieved for the Blind Oracle Fluer, whom he loved like a daughter, wondering if she had escaped as Yllumina had purposed. His eyes glanced over the stone watchtower, and in his mind, he could still see the starship hidden beneath its facade. Someday his grandson would need the Tear of Heaven’s Hope to send those who remained on Terrearth back home to Aetheria.
High Lord Adamos looked at his son, pacing nervously. Lord Kaleth was the third-born of two of the great high houses, a Guardian by magic and birth. He was a great warrior, honorable above all who lived. Together, the father and son built a remote kingdom away from the politics that had corrupted their old world. They had returned to the City of New Hope because Kaleth’s wife, the beautiful Lady D’Aymee, was the half-human daughter of King Xeus, and so their children had to be born here by royal decree. From the balcony above, a single infant cried. Both turned to see the healer waving them to come up.
“Congratulations, my son, you are a father,” Adamos grinned through his white beard.
Kaleth ran his hand over his blond hair in relief, and admitted, “I think waiting through the birthing was worse than battle.”
Adamos laughed at him. “Courage is a matter of perspective, my son. And, while facing death can be harrowing, facing life can be so much harder.”
As they entered the birthing room, Lady D’Aymee’s attendant was brushing her golden hair. The nurse-mothers presented Lord Kaleth and High Lord Adamos with the infants. The eldest Karstien did not cry, instead his silver eyes looked curiously up at his father and grandfather, facing his new life with courage. The younger, violet-eyed Damien screamed his unhappiness, at the change in his situation, demanding to be comforted. Adamos blessed both of the babies, sealing their protection with his magic, no shadow could touch them unless they invited it to.
Lord Kaleth knelt on one knee next to Lady D’Aymee’s bed and touched her hand to his forehead, as a sign of fondness and respect.
“I thank thee for our sons, my Lady,” he said gratefully, smiling at her. His amber eyes glowed with happiness that her lavender eyes reflected.
She nodded. “I pray they fill my Lord’s heart with happiness.” She sighed tiredly, “I must rest, until tomorrow, my Lord.”
He touched her hand to his forehead again and rose to leave her, “Tomorrow, my Lady.”
As High Lord Adamos watched them, he felt sadness for his son. His son did not know love, not yet. Kaleth and D’Aymee had married out of duty and were only friends. The father and grandfather followed the nurse-mothers chosen for the twins to the nursery. The women were surprised when Lord Kaleth insisted on holding both of the babies. He doted over them and , over the next few years, spent every waking moment he could with the newborns. He did not seem at all like other royals who rarely saw their infants until they were much older toddlers.
Of course, it was well known that Lord Kaleth did not behave like royals in many ways. His most frequent companion was a commoner, a scholar, the Mathematician Rolf, who had no house. His Father, High Lord Adamos, was much the same. They valued each person for their skills, not just their birth rank. These far western lords were a different sort of ruler, and many an Atlantian commoner wondered what it would be like to live in their kingdoms, filled with humans and hazards and freedom from the oppressive old ways that demanded everyone live in the station they and their talents were born too.