“I know you, but you don't know me. I'm Lewis Palmer, but everyone around here calls me Prophet.”
“Are you the head Guardian?” I asked.
He chuckled, “ yes, your mother told you.”
“No, it was a lucky guess. I'm also guessing you're going to answer some of my questions.” We walked down the stairs together.
“Yes, but I assume your mother has told you at least some part of your story.” He said when we reached the end of the stairs.
The floor was made of blue marble, there were statues of uniformed men and women standing in line. I guessed one side was of Keepers and the other were Hunters.
The Moon crest hang in an even bigger version on the bronze wall.
“So where do I start?” Prophet asked.
“Where are we?” I asked as we walked between the massive statues that toward over us.
“I like to call this place the shrine room. It dedicated to The Moon's strongest soldiers. At first the Hunters were on the only one with statues down here then the Keepers complained plus it was only fair. In due time you will learn the importance of the Keeper.”
From what I'd gathered Keepers were only trained to guard human beings. We came to a halt at a miniature fountain that stopped just above my knees. It had a metal stump holding a round bronze plate on top of it. Water was pouring out of it, spilling all over the floor but instead it just turned into a thick fog at the bottom.
Prophet pull up two chairs and motioned for us to sit in front of the fountain.
We sat there in silence, Prophet was patiently waiting for me to ask my next question. I knew what it was.
“Why are we at war?” I asked. The old man smiled weakly.
“The world has always been at war with itself, my dear. Life is a constant battle between good and evil. As to way we are at war with the Star again after centuries of peace well…” He trailed.
“Does it have anything to do with me?” I urged. He chuckled a bit.
“Not entirely, you see my dear, after the Moon accomplished the impossible by retrieving your father's soul. We waged war against them, you don't don't take back what's already been sold. I'm sure you know this story already. It's the aftermath that's most important.”
I listen intently to him because I was finally getting somewhere. I would finally know everything.
Mom was probably waiting for him to talk to me first, that's why she was so reluctant to tell me certain things.
“After Star Palace was destroyed most of the surviving Star agents fled the country and one of those was your uncle Julius who felt betrayed but your father and most of all hated your mother for what she had done. He hated the Moon for taking away the only thing he ever could have loved. His own brother. But he could never return because of the curse that cast them out.”
I heard this part already from mom, I wanted to push him to give me new info. I was so impatient at that moment, like a child waiting for the toy store to open.
“Until he struck a deal with a powerful sorcerer, Charlie the yellow serpent…”
My heart stopped the minute he said yellow serpent. That thing was in my dreams! Oh my gosh!
“She cut a whole in our curse that allowed members of the Star to return to SilverLake and recruit more members. We've tried with all our might and intelligence to stop them.” He stopped and stared at the fountain of water. I looked closely at it and noticed the same crest I'd seen.
“They have gotten to powerful and we have lost many men and women and innocent people too.”
“Now the real problem…”
“What? I thought the Star coming back to SilverLake and my crazy uncle potentially trying to kill me and my mother was the bad part.” I panicked.
“There's that too. The Jade Books were instrumental in creating and maintaining life on earth, they are so important that we had them locked away on an disclosed location. But now the Jade Books have fallen into the wrong hands and their Gate Keeper has been killed. The Star seek to destroy it.”
“And if they succeed?”
“Then life as we know it will cease to exist. They'll poison the earth, they want to alter destiny. The Moon will cease to exist along with every shade of hope.”
I swallowed hard, it was hard to envision a hopeless and loveless world, but then again weren't we already living that way. In a world corrupted by darkness. Though what will it feel like when evil truly does take over when every ounce of light is flashed out, when every single grain of hope is gone?
“This is where you come in Avalon. The Jade Books can't simply be destroyed with black magic. They need something extremely powerful.”
“Like Zeus’ lightening bolt?”
“Now you're talking. They need your light.”
Prophet stared at me as if I had a glass of water and he hadn't had a sip in years.
“I don't even know how to use it.” I stammered.
“It's extremely powerful. In the right hands and a good heart it can be used for good. Unfortunately, in a foolish mind it can cause serious damage. Julius might be powerful but at times he is a fool, he underestimates the power you possess. Once the light is unleashed it will destroy every corrupt magic in sight.”
“How does he plan on destroying the book then?”
“He's going to make you do it.”
“What? Won't that destroy him?” I was totally confused, I'd seen what my power could do. I had used it too many times already and it had only killed. There was no doubt in my mind that it could destroy the Jade Books.
“Not if you use your powers to destroy it yourself. When you unleash the light you have no control over what it does. Honestly there is no telling what it will do. We have to keep it safe… you safe.”
My shoulders felt as if someone had loaded a bunch if bricks on them. I watched Prophet for a little while but he only stared at me, patiently waiting for me to react. I was scared they'd lock me up in a room with a Keeper outside it so I dont escape.
I wanted my mom with me more than ever. All this was too much for me to handle alone. To make matters worse I envisioned Rider's arms wrapping around me. I hated that I missed that so much.
“I don't even know how to use my powers.” I murmured.
Prophet said carefully, “the white witches will help you understand your powers better. From what I've heard you've used them a few times already.”
“Only in self defence!” I said, scared of getting in trouble.
He smiled, “no worries. Any more questions?”
“Am I really a Keeper?” I asked.
“Yes, the Keeper of Light. You'll train with the other Keepers eventually.” I was open to the idea. My job at the Meet & Eat was over, I had no passion or interest in the degree I was pursuing in college and I was most likely already kicked out by know.
My life had no mean before all this fell on my shoulders. Now I had a world to save. This felt right despite the pressure and stress, but my mom was with me and so was my grandmother. I felt safe.
“Wait… do you know what happened to my father?”
Prophet sighed, “I was wondering if you would ask. The whereabouts of your father remain unclear. We believe Julius took him and likely killed him, but we've searched for years through the spirits and he had never been found. That should give you hope that he still maybe alive.”
I remembered the apple he drew me in my room back at Moon hideout. The dreams I've been having. My heart filled wih hope that I just wanted to destroy. He had been gone for way to long, he can't possibly be alive, though that meant Dad didn't really abandon me. That's why Mom always defended him. I felt awful.
I finished up the conversation with Prophet and made my way around the Castle to find my friends. I really wanted to know how Juliet was doing.
I was also so fucking hungry! And surprisingly thirsty. The Castle was enormous, I bumped into several people I didn't know on my way to the kitchen. Keepers I guessed. Hunters were rarely at the Castle, they had their own academy. The Keeper's academy was on the other side of the Castle.
I finally made it to the kitchen where Eagle was praising Jace and Shane looked pissed.
“And there she is!” Eagle exclaimed. He caught Willow by surprise who sat by the table concentrating on the floor.
“Damn that I didn't get to see it with my own eyes!” He added.
Shane handed me a glass of orange juice, “you'll need it.” He said.
It was as if he read my mind.
“Tell us how'd you do it!” Eagle started. I struggled to get the words out of mouth.
“Come on Val! Jace told us about how he conjured up a sexy fairy.”
“Yes he did, one too many times.” Shane snorted.
I corked my brow at him for a second and he just shrugged.
“That's right my boy got connections!”
I giggled then sat down next to Willow, she sensed my presence. We hadn't really spoken, but I just so intrigued by her.
“Hi, it's Avalon.” I said. There was some fruit on the table, I grabbed an apple.
“I know,” it was almost a whisper. “I can feel your aura. It's more stronger that you're closer.”
She didn't turn in my direction. I was intrigued by what she told me. I didn't know much about this stuff, but so suddenly I was interested.
“How does that… work?” I didn't know how to ask this question politely, I'm pretty sure to be able to see auras… you needes to be able to see.
“Because I can't see?” She asked, there was no expression on her facs, though I feared I offended her.
“No! I didn't mean it like that. I meant how do you see the auras? Wait… ugh nevermind.” I gave up, frightened that I had offended her and any chance of us being friends was gone.
I was about to leave when she laughed, I stayed.
“It's okay, it's weird. I'm a psychic medium and I know people's auras. All these gifts came with a price my sight. The spirits I contact usually help me see what a certain person looks like. I first saw Eagle in a vision, a great man with Eagle wings. The spirits told me he would be a great friend.” There was a hint of a smile on her pale face.
“What about the auras?” I asked.
“Well… that it's like I already know it… someone tells me, yet when they're around a color pops up in my head and I get a vision on a person with that color around them.”
“That's so cool.” I whispered.
“Trust me it isn't all that grand. I don't know what I look like. I've tried to get the spirits to paint me a picture but it never works.”
She smiled and shook her head.
“How's Juliet doing?” I asked, trying to change the topic.
“She was hurt really badly, but the healers say she'll… live.”
I nodded, she didn't sound very confident. They all had bruises and cuts. I felt guilty for not even having a graze. Willow exused herself to go see Juliet, I contemplated going with her but I went against it. After listening to the boys argue for about thirty minutes about Hunters and Keepers I excused myself too.
I was feeling tired and was ready for bed. I was two in the morning. What awaited us when the blazing sun was out, was unknown to me. I didn't expect us to go site seeing in Rome.
I got to my room and just as I was about to open the door knob I felt a strong hand grip my arm. I nearly jumped out of my skin, I thought they'd found us again.
I settled down when I saw it was just Jace. I would have been very disappointed in Castle security.
“I'm sorry.” He soberly.
“You okay?” I asked. He motioned for us to enter my room. I did as he said, but hesitantly.
Jace was taller than Shane and obviously more handsome and bearable. He was gentle and sweet, it made me think of the way Rider ripped out my heart.
He sat on my bed and looked up at me. I waited until he said something. My heart wasn't racing and I wasn't nervous I think I was just tired otherwise under normal circumstances I would have been extremely nervous to have a hot guy in my room.
“I wanted to talk about our kiss, Avalon.” He said. My face turned red and I had to fight the urge to look away from his pretty face.
“Oh,” I said. I was a reckless, heartbroken mess I bet I was the worse kisser ever. He looked at me with saddened eyes. It was bad, I sighed.
“Don't,-” I stopped him mid sentence. “I was in a bad place and you were just being a good guy. I didn't expect a whirlwind romance between us.” I shrugged. He managed to smile, just to lift up the corners of his mouth.
“If I could I would. I'd gladly have a whirlwind romance with you.” My head had fallen but snapped back up after he spoke.
“You remind me of a girl I had to leave behind. The sad thing is I can't be with you either. Being a Gatekeeper comes with many sacrifices, but its a destiny I can't escape.”
“You're a Gatekeeper?” I gasped.
“Yeah, I've been training and studying my whole life to become a Gatekeeper. I've worked very hard to keep my heart at bay-”
“You're not leaving, are you?”
“Of course not. I'll fight by the Moon until I die.”
Everything felt so bizarre, Gatekeepers lived an isolated and lonely life, waiting for battle, protecting an item that won't ever talk back. Jace would never have a family, he can't even have a girlfriend. No love. My heart ached for him.
I hang my head low, “I understand.”