The light…it’s too bright! I lay cringed and squinting, trying to see what lay beyond. It weighed down on me, crushing my sight, my body, my soul as I wondered… Should I let it? …Should I fight? …But… why? Then I thought, maybe I should, it was only light after all. So I decided to push back, breathe again… and as I tried I felt the light enter my mouth as I inhaled deeply trying to muster the strength to push back.
This was a bad idea after all, it filled my lungs and flowed through my veins crushing me from above and within and I had no strength left in me. I couldn’t seem to fight the light. It consumed me bit by bit until we both vanished into nothingness…
A sharp pain collided with my left cheek whipping my head involuntarily, into the next blow taken by my right cheek. “Wake up!” a voice shouted above me sending tingles through my body. I woke up to see Leah crouched over me, my heart racing, and my body tense and drenched in a sudden cold sweat.
My breath came in gasps, fast and ragged and Leah sighed relieved sitting back on the cotton bed in my dimly lit room. “That hurt” I touched my tender cheeks, this wasn’t the first time I had been woken up so violently.
“I think w-“ she began timidly.
“No!” I objected a little too loudly “we can’t, under no circumstances tell Del or the others about this” I didn’t want them to worry, it was just Idiopathic Central sleep Apnea due to post-traumatic stress or so Leah thought and God I hoped it was temporary or else it would surely be the death of me.
It all started after the war with Erdos, I had been badly injured pierced through the upper stomach by a root, that had gone through and through, it missed my spine by a couple inches. A normal person would have died, but I wasn’t a normal person, before and even more so now.
The people of Elvaraz and those of the human world were safe. I had done my ‘duty’, no matter the means. The Orb of Soltz had understood my will, freeing those who’s minds had been warped by the Sists and Erdos dark will and the bridge between the two worlds were maintained.
I felt Leah gently pull me closer to her, she always seemed to know what I was thinking “he’ll come around soon; it’s only been a month”.
“It feels like it won’t only be a month Leah” I sighed heavily “do you think he’s beginning to hate me?” Del had apparently been unable to face me, for whatever reasons. He was either buried in books or going away to strange places from days at a time, always too busy to talk.
With all the signs, I was only able to come to the conclusion that the little spark that we had on that first day was gone. After the battle I had passed out, completely worn, I was not dead or even close to it. I was an Elesett, a falling mortal I had learned.
An Elesett was one who was transitioning into a tool of judgement, hence the term falling. I had not fallen….yet, but I got closer the more I used the power I had to draw from my human soul. Bit by bit I could feel myself chipping away. Instead of being subjective and following my heart, I was soon to become a being of perfect reasoning, purely logical.
It had all started when I had been trapped in that stupid fail-safe of a cocoon. The severing of my soul from the body had triggered Elesett, and breaking free from it had only slowed the process of what I was to become. It was not completely detached, yet. I was now a Nematon vegetable, unable to use my powers so that the process of my doom would be slowed.
“I think that he’s just trying to find a way to deal with all this. I talked to Voy, he’s working on something big, doesn’t want to get our hopes up so he keeps it between them” Leah reassured softly, but It didn’t matter.
I wanted to spend whatever time I had left, being me with him. I guess it was just easier for him this way. Del deserved better and, if this was the way he thought was best to go about it, then so be it, it was his life, his decision. I, on the other hand, had none.
Ignis had visited a few times, promising that she would try to find a way to stop the transitioning, if it was the last thing she did. We had grown closer over short secret meetings at her quartz like a palace in the woods. Regardless of the fact, that this life and this realm seemed more like a curse than an honour, I was glad it had brought us closer together.
“Stop overthinking now Oli and try and get some rest, I’m sure things will soon work out” I nodded laying down my back turned to Leah “We have so much free time to look forward to since the school is being renovated” she informed me excitedly and I wondered why would she bring this up now.
“Val wants to take me back, for a date and I was thinking that you and I could find a place for ourselves?” Leah suggested, there was something else “you know if we want to get away from all this sometimes, we can just go back, after all we can’t leave everything behind”.
She was right, we couldn’t dare leave the human world behind and I didn’t want her feeling left out or unwelcome at any time, the Nematons were friendly and good people, but some of them were still weary of humans. That should all be in the past I hoped, still, it was always better to be safe than sorry. I had only lived here a little over a month.
“I’ll come, but only because I need to and after your date”, this would be the first time I’d be leaving Elvaraz since that day, no more excuses, I was ready I had to be busy too for Del’s sake if this was what he needed. I only hoped it was for the best.
“Oli?” Leah lay down beside me placing an arm around my waist “is everything really going to be ok?” she yawned sleepily, snuggling her head into the small of my back.
“I would love to think so” I answered wanting to reassure her, then I remembered the nightmare I had just awoken from, and I didn’t feel like getting comfortable. That’s not what my life was about anymore, and I was sure this was only the beginning.
I listened as Leah’s breathing slowed to a steady pace; she was in a deep sleep by now. I didn’t want to or felt the need for sleep right now; I just needed to think through these weird dreams of mine. I was sure it meant something, something important. I decided the fresh air would clear my head or at least occupy my time until it was full morning.
I closed the door as silently as I could behind me and turned, my heart jolted painfully in my chest and fell to the floor, bringing me down with it instinctively into a crouch, behind the chair in the hall.
Maybe it was the wind; I could have sworn I heard someone and I thought of how strange it would seem, to be hiding in a place where I had a right to be. I breathed out heavily preparing to stand.
“Did you hear that?” someone asked suspiciously, I crouched quickly once again feeling the pulse of my erratic heartbeats resonating in my head. I had never heard that voice before and was confused as to why any villager would be in Del’s house at this time of night. There were several other chairs in front of me as I inched forward trying to get a closer look scrapping my bare toes on a loose board. I tried not to curse out loud holding my breath, listening. I forgot to wear shoes, again I cursed myself silently.
“No, but let’s talk outside just in case”, another voice answered, Val? So maybe the stranger was invited after all. It was too late to show myself now; I crept between the chairs trying my best not to shift them. They finally reached outside, but the front door was left ajar.
“A son you say? And you think, he may be involved, in the kidnapping of the elementals in the other realms?”
“Yes and I believe the one you have here, will be. in danger…soon”, my name is Olivia thank you very much I thought irritated that I had been spoken of in such a manner.
“I figured as much from the first two incidents” Val was pacing now “do you think he intends to complete Erdo’s ritual?” he asked as calm as ever.
“It would seem so unless he was going to kill them all and I doubt there would be any great benefit from their deaths” my stomach ached in memory and I grabbed my night shirt twisting and pushing down on my stomach to ease the uneasiness I felt. The wound had healed, but I still ached from time to time.
My ears had finally stopped ringing. “It’s strange, don’t you think,” the stranger wondered suspiciously, mostly to himself. Val hissed anyway. “I’m sure you wouldn’t be so stupid”
I breathed out softly trying to once again slow my heart beat, so once again secrets were being kept from me it was obvious this had been happening for weeks and they were at their breaking point if I were soon to be in danger. “I’ll be there tomorrow” Val assured the stranger, I had lost track of the conversation “I’ll be meeting, some friends of mine first with information about the allies he may have in the human realm, of Michigan”, I rolled my eyes at his use of the term.
“And will Del, bother us with his presence?”
“He will be there before I am, his absence is... necessary as we will discuss tomorrow.”
“Termész is not a safe place, don’t be late or you will be on your own.”
“We were always alone” Val whispered to himself as the strangers footsteps began to fade, I hurriedly and quietly tried to escape, bad choice, my legs were cramped and tingly from crouching so long and I collided with one of the nearby chairs the legs scraping loudly against the wood. SHIT! SHIT! SHIT! my mind screamed. I was going to be caught for sure.
“Del? Is that you?” Val called out making his way inside to confront him; I hopped as fast as I could towards the hall leading to the bathroom. “I’ve got some bad n-“
I wasn’t fast enough “Liv?” he sounded disappointed and surprised and I hoped I didn’t have guilty written all over my face.
“Oh, Val, didn’t know you were up.” I said a little too breathless “um, bathroom gotta pee…bye!” I opened the door my hands a bit shaky and flung myself into the bathroom.
“Uh…ok, don’t let that bladder get the best of you” Val called from the other side of the door and I listened until his footsteps were out of earshot. I let out a breath I hadn’t realized I was holding. Eavesdropping was most definitely not my strong point, why didn’t I confront him as I always did or any of my problems as a matter of fact.
Since the incident I realized just how vulnerable I was, everything changed when I found out about my abilities, I was stronger than most but what would that matter if I were going to be a targeted for gaining power. How long could I keep up? How many other persons would get hurt? Will they decide it’d be best to give up and leave me alone in my fight?
The responsibility of being an elemental weighed down on me and I didn’t have a choice in the matter. Del was being indifferent and everyone else knew their roles in this fight, to protect the elementals and maintaining the realms and its people…and Leah, how long could I keep dragging her around? it was unfair. What was my purpose? The insecurities continued to build threatening to overcome me. I knew this feeling all too well. It was fear and doubt, fear had brought forth all the questions I constantly tried to ignore, fear showed the truth they tried to hide and I needed to be strong. If it was one thing I was sure of, it was that fear had become my closest friend.
I stood up, washing away the salty tears that stuck to my face, I had to face reality. A bit of the bravery I felt, when I had attended Compass University came flowing back. Crying always cleared my head.
Today was going to be a long day, and I had decided that I would spend the day, collecting the remainder of my belongings from the storage building close to campus, while Leah was enjoying her date.
I stepped out of the bathroom, with purpose. Del was seated, alone and he seemed to be preoccupied with his thoughts, I missed him. I walked over happily; he always made me feel better just by being there.
Covering his eyes with both hands I leaned into his ear trying to disguise my voice “Guess who?” it sounded much worse than I expected.
“Kelu?” he guessed confused reaching to pull my hands away from his eyes, I was confused also. As far as I knew, Kelu had gone overseas to meet with the Nematon leaders in the realm of Elme to continue her training in healing, Alen had also gone with her and they wouldn’t be back for at least two more months.
“Why would you think its Kelu?” I inquired, dropping my hands to sit on the chairs arm that he was currently sitting in.
“Oh, Liv” he didn’t even look at me or smile. Maybe he was having a bad morning I tried to reason with myself. I sighed and tried again. I slid onto his lap, wrapping my arms around his neck and rested my head on the hollow of his shoulder.
“I missed you” and God knows I meant it, he sighed as if he didn’t know what to say “how have things been? Do you need any help?”
“No its fine don’t worry yourself, plus I’ve got Val” he reassured without much enthusiasm.
“You know you can tell me…and remember I don’t like secrets” maybe that was pushing it, but Del was never too hesitant to keep me in the loop. I hoped that he would at least mention something of the conversation I overheard early this morning.
“You’re late Val” he said, seeming too grateful for his sudden appearance, putting me to the side of the chair to make his way towards Val.
He then turned to me and his eyes flickered over mine as he tried to force a smile, I wish he hadn’t bothered. I bit my lip, wanting to slouch further into the couch as I tried not to think too hard, about his lukewarm gesture. He hadn’t smiled, not even a little bit.
“I have to go Olivia, later?” Olivia?! He was all business now. I smiled as brightly as I could the waterworks ready to go off at any moment. I held my breath, trying to slow my breathing so that my voice wouldn’t crack.
“Sure” I replied, springing suddenly from the chair, turning away as quickly as I could.
Making my way to the room, I almost stumbled by the chair I had hid behind this morning, I blinked trying to clear my vision. There was no later with Del, there never was, later was just an excuse to make another excuse later.
“You know you can’t protect her forever?” Val hissed angrily at Del “It’s her destiny” so I was becoming a burden it seemed, I bumped into Leah. Not wanting to hear another word, I pushed her into the room so I could cry my heart out and not tell her what was wrong, I didn’t want to become her burden too.