Pennie stepped off of the train full of excitement. It had been a week since she met Ray and Blaze since then she had been preparing to move to Asteria. She booked a room in a motel until she could find the perfect apartment, she quit her job at a horrible fast food restaurant, packed her stuff into one large bag and set off on the two-hour journey to follow her dream. Pennie sighed as she stretched out her back. The train trip from Acqua Stellata to Asteria had been extremely uncomfortable, but it was the most affordable option. Since hover cars were invented and road vehicles became a thing of the past, taxi services had become severely overpriced. With the current modern technology, Pennie found it difficult to believe that cell phones and portable game systems had only been invented in the past forty years. Although when Pennie thought about it, the lack of progress before that time was most likely because of the Eighty-Year War. Although for some unknown reason public transport hadn’t changed all that much, which was probably why taking the train was more affordable.
After dropping off her suitcase at a hamara luggage transport service, Pennie stood outside the station reading a map of the area. She didn’t know why, but the station was just a bit out of the city, and it would take her a while to walk to where Twilight Heart was located. As she leant against the wall, she examined the map closely unsure of what direction she was meant to go.
Moments later Pennie looked up to find Ray walking past her. When he noticed her, he walked over to greet her. He then introduced Pennie to a hamara called Noah, a creature known for having the ability to specialise in all kinds of magic and were often used as familiars for powerful Oviri. The one with Ray was a grey, bear-like creature with red clawed feet, vermillion wings and a tail with a small ball of fire at the tip. After talking for a while, Ray offered to show her around Asteria and lead her to the Twilight Heart base. It was a ten-minute walk, but she could hardly contain her excitement once she finally arrived in the small city.
As Pennie, Ray and Noah walked through the streets of Asteria, she was amazed at what she saw. Unlike her hometown, the people of the city of stars were bright and happy. Colourful stores filled the city with large signs, people talking cheerfully and hamara’s flying around freely as far as the eye could see. The streets were filled with beautiful pink blossom trees that were magically always in bloom, and the Autumn colours of red and orange were bright and vibrant. Pennie was enchanted by the charming old buildings, houses and a few dazzling skyscrapers. Each structure was full of character, each with elegant details that reflected the historical value of Asteria. The air was fresh, and the smell of baked bread and freshly mown grass drifted in the cool breeze. Pennie understood why Asteria was so peaceful; it was a CSOG free town with everyone treating each other as equals
In the centre of town was Asteria’s famous Luna tree, a huge maple with leaves that changed colour each season and sparkled during the night. Pennie looked up at the sky. It was a beautiful pale purple with the sun shining on its people. She couldn’t wait to see Asteria’s night sky, which was rumoured to be a brilliant dark purple which was lit up by millions of shining stars. Pennie’s jaw dropped at the massive cathedral. Said to be over four hundred years old, Asteria Cathedral looked like a castle from a fairy-tale. The sun shone upon the light blue roof, and white arched stonework created a sense of elegance that Pennie absolutely adored.
“This place is amazing!” Pennie exclaimed. “It’s so beautiful.”
“Yeah, it’s quite a comfortable place to live,” Ray stated. “It’s quiet, peaceful and friendly. It so much nicer here than in the big cities.”
“I’m so excited, I just have so many questions,” Pennie smiled.
“As long as you talk at a pace I can follow, I’d be happy to answer them,” Ray claimed, stretching out his arms.
“How do you get chosen to be in Twilight Heart? Do you have to audition or…?” Pennie began.
“Nah. Our guild is pretty laid back,” Ray explained. “Anyone is allowed to join so there’s no process. When the founders created it, apparently they wanted it to be a home for Oviri who have nowhere to go.”
“I wish I knew that before, I would have already been a member if I did,” Pennie sighed. “OMG, you have to tell me all about Liella. She performed in the first Twilight Heart concert I saw, and I’ve wanted to be a member ever since. Is she just as amazing as she in person as she is on stage?”
“I don’t know who you are talking about,” Ray said.
“How could you not! However, now that I think about it, she hasn’t appeared in anything for five years. Did she leave or something?”
“Probably,” Ray claimed. “I’ve been in Twilight Heart for four years, and I’ve never seen her.”
“Oh…” Pennie said with slight disappointment. “That reminds me, what did you do before Twilight Heart? You seem to be about my age, and if you say you’ve been a member for four years, you must have been quite young when you joined. How did it happen?”
“How do I put this…” Ray scratched his head and turned around to face Pennie while walking backwards. “Five years ago, I must have been in some kind of accident because I woke up in a forest one day with little memory of who I was. I could remember my name and some vague little details but other than that everything was blank. Anyway, the Shadow Beast Aleron found me and took me in, taught me how to control the powers that I had and looked after me. However, about four years ago, he told me he was going out for a while. He said something about going to an important meeting that I couldn’t attend and that he’d be back but he never came home. While I waited for him I met Master Isaac and he let me join Twilight Heart. I’ve been a member ever since.”
“So the person you told me about back in Acqua Stellata was Aleron?” Pennie asked.
“No…” Ray claimed, turning to face the way he was walking. “That was someone deeper into my past. I don’t remember much about them apart from their voice and an important promise we made.”
Pennie opened her mouth to ask more questions, but she stopped when she thought it would be better if she didn’t press any further.
Finally, they arrived at two places that excited Pennie the most. The Twilight Heart base and Twilight Stadium. She didn’t take much notice of the stadium as her focus was on the building in front of her. The Two-Storey cream building had a purple roof and two castle-like spires on either side. The patterned bricks and large arched windows had an inviting feel to it. The garden was well kept with flowers Pennie had never even seen before. Just looking at it from the front the Twilight Heart base seemed to be a reasonably sized structure. Running past Ray, Pennie climbed the quartz stairs and burst through the purple wooden doors.
The interior was just as amazing as the exterior. It was a spacious hall with a staircase by the entrance. In front of Pennie were a few lines of wooden oak tables along the birch timber floors, separated by a long white rug. At the end of the room was the bar which was nice and tidy, with blackboards against the back wall, listing menu items. On the pale purple wall to her left was the mission board, where a lot of people stood in front of it looking for jobs. To her right was the TV set, replaying a previous concert. As she looked around the Twilight Heart base in amazement, a man came up to her. He had black hair with bright blue tips. The slightly muscular man wore a long singlet top and navy ripped jeans.
“You’re a new face.” the man said bluntly. “Welcome to Twilight… Oh, you’re back Ray. I was enjoying not having to hear your voice.”
“Nice to see you too Lynx,” Ray growled at the man. “You know that’s not a decent way to greet someone.”
“Well, you always piss me off, so why should I talk nicely to you,” Lynx stated with a smug grin.
“Oh really?” Ray growled.
As Pennie watched the two argue, a sudden thought then popped into her head causing her to freeze in place. She was just about to meet a whole heap of new people. Pennie couldn’t help but wonder how people would react when they heard her last name. Her family, or what was left of it was practically the enemy of all MLC guilds after all. Her eyes darted around the base in search for somewhere to calm down. She managed to find a seat at a table way off in the furthest corner. Pennie sat down and took a deep breath.
“Pennie, it’s nice to see you again,” a familiar voice stated.
Pennie looked up to find Blaze walking towards her. After pulling out a seat, he sat in front of her with a friendly smile.
“So you came all this way to join,” Blaze said. “How have you been?”
“Fine…” Pennie claimed.
Blaze watched her as she tried to fake a smile. “Are you okay?”
She nodded, not wanting to trouble anyone but she couldn’t hide the despondent expression on her face.
“I know I might not know you all that well, but you can open up to me if you like. I won’t judge or tell anyone about it if you don’t want to.” Blaze said with a comforting tone in his voice. “You’ll be joining Twilight Heart, so it’s most likely we’d end up being friends. So I’d love to hear what’s troubling you, they do say that if you want to make friends, you have to take an interest in them after all.”
Pennie sighed, Blaze’s comforting words made her feel some kind of relief, but she still couldn’t find the courage to explain it to him.
“By any chance is it something family related?” Blaze asked. “I’ve been thinking it for a while but are you somehow related to Jonathan Raynhart?”
Pennie’s eyes widened in shock. She didn’t want to see how Blaze would react, so she lowered her head.
“He’s my uncle…” Pennie managed to mutter.
“I see…” Blaze said.
“I guess I’m afraid that no one will accept me because of him. Perhaps I’ll never fit in here, and the thought of that just scares me. There’s nothing I want more than to be a part of Twilight Heart.”
“Everything will be fine,” Blaze stated.
Pennie looked up and saw that Blaze was smiling at her.
“No one will care if your Uncle was a CSOG tyrant. Just be yourself, and everyone will welcome you into the guild,” he claimed.
“Don’t worry; I’ll be there for you. If anyone tries to hurt you for that reason, I will come to your aid. Besides I really hope to be friends with you, you seem like a very cool person after all.”
Pennie laughed, “Thanks I feel a lot better now.”
Pennie’s eyes darted to the back of the room where an old man entered through the door. He was about five and a half feet tall with frizzy grey hair and looked approximately fifty-nine years old. He wore a bright green suit and a black tie, which made him look even shorter. Pennie recognised the man immediately as the leader of Twilight Heart, Isaac Tooronga.
“Hey, come with me,” Ray said running up to her, grabbing her wrist.
Pennie couldn’t believe that she was going to meet Master Isaac Tooronga. The Master was known for being ranked in the top ten strongest Oviri by Pennie’s favourite magazine. Galaxy Moon was a famous magazine that documented fabulous events, the latest fashion trends and the most amazing Oviri’s in Le Alba. Master Tooronga was possibly even one of the strongest Oviri in the world, as he was also a part of the Magical Liberation Council’s Starlight Knights, a group of twenty of the fiercest warriors who act as inspirational leaders for a better future.
Before she knew it, Pennie and Ray stood in front of the Master who smiled at them, “Well, who might this be?”
“This is my new friend Pennie.” Ray smiled. “She’s going to be a member of Twilight Heart.”
“Is that so…” the Master said walking up to her, “tell me, Pennie, why do you want to be a part of our guild?”
“I want to help as many people as possible. Whether it’s bringing them joy with a song or saving their lives, I want to make Le Alba a happier place.”
“That’s a very noble quest,” the Master said as he looked towards the rest of the guild, “Now to save others, we must have a pure heart. If we aim to protect the people, even if we cause trouble now and then, after all, what do a few damaged buildings mean compared to the happiness of the people? Remember we don’t only fight for Le Alba; we fight to bring a brighter tomorrow. We sing for Twilight, and we inspire the hearts of those who need us. That’s what it means to be a member of Twilight Heart!”
The room cheered and yelled. Pennie looked towards Ray who had the biggest smile she had ever seen.
“We would be glad to have you, Pennie.” Master Isaac said.
“Thank you, Master,” Pennie said with joyful tears.
“Welcome to Twilight Heart!” he smiled, “and may the eternal song of Twilight bring you hope.”