The Secret Twilight

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A QUEEN’S BURDEN

The trip home was piloted by me. Apparently, all Kairosa should have it inside them to fly the spaceship. Therefore, there was no better time to prove my abilities than now. Dad was no help, apart from telling me to let go of doubt and trust my instincts. As long as I knew where I was going, the Star Flyer would take me there. In cases where I wanted adventure or surprise, I just had to make sure it flew through the vortex smoothly and let the Star Flyer know where to go. It was odd, as I couldn’t see the vortex, I had to feel it. My mind’s eye was critical to the driving; if it wasn’t clear, then we might land somewhere dodgy. Now being the doubter, I am with my own abilities, my panic levels shot up. The vortex went all swirly inside my head, making me feel dizzy. Fortunately, we reached our destination safely (albeit a bit bumpy); the Twilight Mansion as we liked to call it.

It was an old, empty house by a loch in Scotland that Peter and Jason had found three years before while hiking. By this time, Nidia and I had learned to teleport, and so every time we wanted to escape, we went there. Upon finding the house lay an old sign that had missing letters, what remained was the word “twilight” spread out. We called the seven of us the Twilights after that and sought to rid the Avalonian world of the tyranny of the Council, which I’ll get to later.

The house was quite large, and in need of repair when we found it, by now, it was quite a beautiful place. Red ivy crawled up the walls, and the brickwork was uneven but lovely all the same. I led Dad inside, hoping to find my friends waiting for me. Instead, all I found was Peter, Debs, Jason, and Rachel coming out of their rooms as they heard the massive wooden door shut.

“Where are the others?” I asked.

“I thought Nidia was with you, Kat stayed behind to see when you’d get back. Neither has returned” said Debs sliding down the bannister.

“Who’s this?” asked Jason, coming out of the living room. I was about to answer, but it was Peter who jumped in from the top floor.

“Dad?” he asked, taking the hint from my thoughts.

It was only then that I saw the likeness, why had I not seen it before? They had the same nose and blue eyes, then there was that look they both had when they were trying to say something smart. Peter probably saw an older version of himself standing in front of him. It was at that moment Nidia and Kat teleported into the room and ran to hug me.

“You went silent, I never thought that was possible,” she exclaimed. “For five minutes I couldn’t hear your voice inside my head, and then I heard you, not a minute ago. Is it true, you’ve found our Father?

In the nine years that we had been telepathic, it was more than just conversations we shared, but thoughts. If we concentrated really hard, we could hear everything the other was thinking. Even during that time, we were separated back in school, when some girl tried to keep us apart, I could still hear hints of her thoughts and emotions. Still, there was a substantial blockage between us, a very fuzzy signal on a magical phone. Peter, on the other hand, could not. We could have conversations but had never had the same connection that Nidia and I have. I suppose it was because we were twins. But her statement proved something, there was a limit to our telepathy, time. If we were in different eras, then we could not hear each other.

After many introductions and a rendition of Jason’s explosive escape from the gargoyles, we settled down to some dinner as prepared by Kat, who’s a wonderful cook by the way. Over dinner, Dad got to know us, and we got to know him. Turns out there’s quite a high possibility that we are of noble birth as we have too many Powers to be considered normal Avalonians. This either made it more complicated or gave me more evidence to suspect that Queen Anna’s Powers were coming back. He did say that if there were any more unexplainable Powers in us, then we should gain them soon. So far, we hadn’t learned much compared to what we have now, but I’ll give you a rundown. Telepathy and magic were possessed by all three of us. Nidia and I could teleport, and I had just learnt to fly the year before, Nidia never sought to try as she was afraid of heights and Peter had been flying since he was 7. Peter and I both learnt to cast fire when we were 13. Nidia and I had been able to breathe underwater since we were 10. Finally, we could all run like speeding bullets, but my stamina has never been enough. Therefore, we were either really Powerful, or Queen Anna’s Powers are coming back, and her Father was Kairosa as well.

The other discussion over dinner was the Council, a popular subject amongst many. Basically, the story is that once the Royal Family died in the war, and there was no heir, a Council of seven influential men was established despite millennia of the feminised rule. It is said that it wasn’t decided by democratic vote but by the men just jumping in and assuming they were in charge. The leader was a Duke, meaning he was a son of royalty, but as he was male, he was not eligible to rule. But because he was related to the Royal Family, then he could still technically produce an heir. Maybe that’s why the people allowed them to rule as they probably didn’t know of the secret daughter. But then there were also the circumstances of how he survived as he was described as a coward (although supporters don’t admit it). He didn’t fight in the war but fled to Earth at first sight of the battle. The second ship was full of children as by order of the Queen to secure the future of the Avalonian population.

But then the trouble started. The seven men decided to kill every female child born to them and their descendants and for some unknown reason developed a society worse than that of the human world. It was well known that the Queen had banished this Duke, which is probably why he wasn’t called up before the battle but was expected to show up like everyone else. It was considered one’s duty to fight when required. Each child was trained to fight to the max, but there was no established army. Under his rule, women were oppressed beyond what normal human women were used to at the time and men were given double the work. So, it went on and eventually got the point when the women didn’t know any better, but we’re jealous of other women who could progress when they weren’t.

In the early days, we lived in tribes away from humans. But as the humans began to grow in population, and the human tribes began to digress into society, some of us went the same way. As a result, women went to a human school and got human jobs, so the Council were forced to allow more privileges to women. The oppression continues today through the school system. Most Avalonians are sent to schools run by the Council when they are young, getting taught what the Council want us to know and manipulated. Some people say that the teaching is all lies to make people submit to the Council rule. They say they humans will kill us if they find out who we are, but not all humans are like that as a few Avalonians have married humans, but this is extremely rare. There are a few rebels against the Council now; most of the zealot ones are older crones like Mrs White who taught the seven of us the evilness of the Council. However, it is evident that the vast majority of Avalonians, like 90%, behave like brainwashed supporters, but who’s to say they’re not just really good at hiding their rebellious side. They may not like the way the Council runs society, yet they know that without them, they would be in a lot worse trouble at the wrath of the humans.

Nevertheless, if I was really a descendent of Queen Anna, then people would expect me or my sister to be the next Queen. I knew I had to find out more, but there was no-one alive to give me the answers I needed. There was only one thing for it, I needed to steal the Star Flyer and speak to Queen Anna herself. Nidia would probably know what was in my head and would also know not to tell the others. I pretended to go for a walk to process things as I often did but instead, I headed straight for the Star Flyer.

When I arrived in Avalonia, I parked in the dungeons. As expected with such a peaceful society, they were empty, and I took a handheld device sort of like a mobile phone that I found next to the controls in case of warnings. I figured it would tell me of events that needed my attention or dangers approaching in this time zone. I was still wearing my new Avalonian dress, so it wasn’t hard to blend in. The dungeons were connected to the kitchens, where there was a maid’s corridor to the Queen’s quarters. Most people I passed thought I worked there or bowed as I passed, again mistaking me for the Queen, and just let me carry on to the Queen’s quarters. I didn’t exactly know what I would say to her, but I knew the rules of time travel, due to some books I had read; do not engage or change the past but observe and ensure that it carries on as it should. I could never tell her I was from the future. The corridor came out from a door hidden by a tapestry into her private hall and then into her room. Her room was empty but made up exactly how I would do it, we really were alike. The view from the balcony was spectacular and looked right out onto the hills and the eastern sea in the very far distance.

“You know; you should really send a letter or whatever you do in the future before you intend on seeing me,” said a voice behind me. I turned to see Queen Anna herself precisely as I saw her before. We were even more similar up close, and she saw it too.

“How…” I began to ask, but she interrupted.

“My oracle told me;” she responded. “She’s the only person that knows you’re here. Now, what advice do you want from me?”

“Why do you assume I want advice?”

“Well the only reason someone from the future would ever come to the past with intention to visit someone would be for advice, especially one who looks a lot like me.”

“That is why I came,” I admitted, “I think I’m a descendant of you, and that if the people find out, they would want me or my sister to become Queen, or worse kill us.”

“I’ve often heard a prophesy that there would come a time in which there would be no Queen or royal teacher to guide a Royal Family. Well, at least you can travel through time to ask another for help. I assume you took some sort of ship as those Kairosa have rather than using a Power. Only the Queen has the actual built-in Power to time-travel. First thing’s first, how to tell who the Queen is.” With that, she took of her travelling cloak and threw it on the four-poster bed. She then went into the wardrobe and took out a book, The Lore of the Queens. “Avalonia has been a matriarchal country, ruled by Queens for thousands of years. The Queen is not determined by parentage, but by those who deserve it. A Queen is guided towards six individuals, and any female offspring of the seven can become Queen. Still, it is not as simple as choosing at random. There are three indications as to who the Queen is. Number one is Powers; the Royal Family has all the Powers that an Avalonian can have. All Avalonians can trace their family back to living on this planet. The Queen can have all the Powers of the Avalonian world, but sometimes just a good number of them are found. Number two is pyrpertho, all and only the members of the Royal Family can create this, but only the Queen can allow them to use it. It is a bright shining light which can cause anything from a simple knockout to disintegration. It is very dangerous and only to be used in the most necessary of circumstances. We have this Power because it is the only known Power to survive Power shutdowns. Thirdly, is the necklace; the symbol that there is a higher approval of the Queen’s leadership and right to rule. Each necklace is unique to each Queen, symbolising the type of reign she will lead. However, although every Queen is born with the necklace, while the previous Queen is still alive, it is clear crystal and formless. When the necklace takes a form, it is an indication that the previous Queen is about to die in the next year or so and when she does, it turns red.” It was then that I noticed her necklace; at first, I just thought it was a piece of jewellery, but then I saw the shape of a dolphin playing in a ring of fire. I knew that could only signal the war that would end her life, but the dolphin meant happiness.

“Many will remember my reign as a long and happy one where the people had peace and prospered. However, I fear what is to come, but I do not wish to know. First, let us do the tests. The easiest is pyrpertho; I will simply light mine up, giving you the ability to light up yours. It should just do it automatically, and when it does, you will feel a slight pain somewhere in your body. That place is the same place for you and your generation of the Royal Family. If you are the Queen, you can simply concentrate on that spot and imagine it exploding. Eventually, you will learn to control to the level you desire to display. Do not worry if you go too strong, to begin with, my shields are enough to contain it. If you’re not Royal, you’ll simply be knocked out for a few minutes, only Royals can withstand the force of pyrpertho.”

“What about the necklace, isn’t that easier?” I asked.

“Not all the time,” she replied. “The necklace has the Power of concealment. A Queen may hide in plain sight. It has been known that the necklace will sometimes only reveal itself when the Queen is ready to assume the throne. If you are the Queen, lighting up your pyrpertho should reveal it, and from the book, I can tell you what kind of reign your generation will lead. Are you ready?”

I had no idea what to expect, but it came as a shock, and she might have said a wee pain, but it was more than that, it was burning, right in the middle of my chest. It was a white shining light, and right away I knew what dangers such a Power could do but also it could help win a battle without casualties. It would take a lot of energy to generate such a force, so it could not be used lightly. Still, it made me wonder why the Royal Family was given such a Power in the first place. Before she could even ask me, I knew that also if it was me, I wasn’t ready to generate such Power. My abilities were too underdeveloped. Yet by lighting me up, I felt more Powers awaken inside me, and my other Powers reach full development. I could now read her mind, just as clear as reading Nidia’s. I could hear others in the castle and could feel every thought they had. When she finally let the light dim, I knew straight away that something was different about me that I could not see but she could. Her thoughts were shielded from me as if she knew I could read them. It was then that the eagle came swooping into the room. Anna had what looked like a telepathic conversation with it and then turned to me.

“The fourth sign of the Queen,” she stated “although not completely necessary as the Queen can live without one, but it is helpful, nonetheless. Queens, at the beginning of their reign, are given a Drakon as their steed in battle. This point in time can be different from that of the official coronation or acceptance by the people, just simply when His Lordship demands that the Queen begins to lead. This is my Drakon, and she has just come here to state she is ready to pass the egg onto you. Not to say that you are the Queen simply that you will play some influence in the life of the Queen and are in a position to make sure she gets this.” With that, she went to the wardrobe again. She fetched two pairs of dress gloves; the eagle then painfully laid a beautiful golden egg which shone in the sunlight from the balcony. I felt drawn to it, and I went to pick it up, but Anna stopped me and gave me some gloves. “If the egg is touched by the Queen before it is ready, or before the Queen is ready, then it will hatch, and the Drakon may not survive or develop properly,” she explained.

She carefully picked up the egg with one gloved hand and started to wave her other hand around it, which caused it to shrink into a suitable size to fit in my pocket. She then handed it to me and told me to always handle it with gloves and only allow the skin to touch it when it begins to hatch. It was then that she got to the exciting yet kinda revealing part of my visit.

“I did not mention this earlier, but pyrpertho can sometimes give you visions, especially about those you engulf inside it. It was not in particular about you as I could not see the face. Still, I did see the necklace of your generation of royals,” Anna said, reaching for the book and referring to the appropriate illustrated pages. “The first thing I noticed was three dolphins swimming together. Whenever a group of animals is seen, it symbols unity and the animal symbols the type of unity. This means that the Queen will unite three groups of people, and they will have peace and protect each other, which is symbolised by the ring that encloses them. The other thing is that there is a gap between the first two dolphins and the last, which symbolises the difficulty that your generation must face achieving such peace.”

I knew then that she knew who the Queen was, probably me. It would make sense to be me as I was the eldest girl (apart from Rachel) and the most powerful of the seven. I never really wanted to be Queen, but I knew that once the people found out, I could not avoid it. Although Rachel was older, there were several reasons, she could not be Queen. The main one being that it was me who gathered the Twilights together and me who encouraged Nidia to be my friend in the beginning. I was the one who was lonely during playtime, whereas she would hang about with ordinary people. It took me some time, but after a few times around at mine, we were inseparable. It was just then that my handheld computer started to bleep like mad, I took it out, and a message appeared in Kairosa. It took my head around a minute to get it, but eventually, I knew I needed to return to my own time. It told me there was a significant time-altering event that requires observation and the date stamp of the day I just travelled from.

“You need to go, don’t you?” asked Anna “Take the book, it’ll tell you all you need to know. When you find the Queen, tell her from me, the Room needs to be explored to defeat whatever caused the gap between her and the last Queen. The location of the Room is in the book, only the Queen can understand the code of which it is written, and only the Queen can enter the Room. Now go, I hope to see you soon, and perhaps next time I’ll be introduced to the Queen.”

It was a curious way to end a conversation, but I bade her farewell and ran towards the Star Flyer. I had no idea why I had to go now, why time could not just wait. But then I was new to the details of the laws of time, so I didn’t want to destroy my future. I had no idea how I was doing it. Still, as I was running I ran through what needed to be done to get the Star Flyer up and running just to ensure I could do it quickly, I felt my mind do all the work from a distance. By the time I got there, it was already taking off. I just had to shut the door, and it was gone. Not only had my mind reading got more powerful, but I now had telekinesis. I don’t know, even now, what made me run and fire up the Star Flyer as I went. I probably could have walked it and still ended up when I needed to be. Yet, when I got home, I knew there was trouble. Something had changed in the Avalonian world. The one thing I should have feared would happen but never knew was possible until I walked through that door.

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