Legacy Inherited

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Rose 2

“I am sorry.” Lady Gwen said as she sat besides her.
Rose didn’t want to see the genuine sympathy the woman’s face showed. She didn’t want to be comforted, not by the woman who had just admitted to kidnapping her and her friends.

Racing through the many rooms of what had to be a castle, she had searched for her friends in vain. She had seen endless sitting rooms, dinning rooms, dancing rooms, orangeries, solariums, rooms she couldn’t find a use for and yet had not found them. Now she sat on a dainty couch in yet another sitting room, dazed and haunted. A short time later Lady Gwen had come in, her escorts still with her but, only she came to sit by her.

“Where are they?” Rose demanded. “You said they were here.”

“No, I merely stated that I had summoned them, ” once again lady Gwen hesitated, then straightened up her already straight back, as if gearing herself up for something. “I summoned you all, but something interfered with my summons and only you were brought here.”

Pain flared through her chest, down to her gut where it tightened the knot that had since settled there. Her sight dimmed as the room swam about her. Lost! Her friends were lost! They were all she had and if anything happened to them...

She remembered the days before she had met them. The loneliness, the paralyzing fear that had been her constant companion for so long she hadn’t known what it was to live without it. Rose couldn’t go back to that gnawing cold emptiness, she couldn’t.

Nothing seemed to make sense. They should all be at home maybe watching some random movie they had already watched a thousand times.

“Where are they?” She repeated, her voice rusty, as if she were a thousand year old cadaver.

“For that, we will need your help to ascertain.”

Rosamund laughed without humor. This was insane. What could she do in a land of magic? Not that she believed in magic, or that she was on another world. Someone was playing mind games with her, once she got out of here they were going to pay.

Noting an edge of hysteria to her laughter, she stopped. Apparently a part of her believed this lunacy, which accounted for the hysteria. How was she ever going to get out if it were true?

A pair of couples entered the room dressed in regal finery and trailing guards. She gave them a cursory glance then wrapped her arms around herself. Cold had crept into her, the balmy air failing to affect her as ice spread from her core.

“I can understand how this might be overwhelming...” Lady Gwen continued but Rose cut her off.

She was suddenly furious. They had disregarded her and her friends, yet this woman wanted to come off sympathetic and understanding. Where had that understanding been while she was bringing them to another world without their consent?

“Really?” She said in the cold aristocratic manner she had adopted for stressful situations. “What exactly do you understand?” She straightened her back and composed her face to a cool façade. “Do you understand that you have disregarded our free will? Our right to choose how our lives proceed? Do you understand that not only have you kidnapped us but you have endangered my friends in the process?”

Lady Gwen’s face blanched but her composed expression remained even as she swallowed hard. Rose though, was not done. “What gives you the right to decide anything about our lives? We have responsibilities that will be neglected while we dance to your whims, people counting on us. How do you even know my friends are not dead because of your ‘summons’?”

“Your friends are alive, you are all tied to my magic so I would know if one of you were dead. As to...”

“You tied us to your magic?” Her voice dropped into the arctic registers, a threat, even as she voiced none.

“That is presently irrelevant.” One of the regal men stated with the kind of authority that brooked no arguments. “What is essential is finding your friends.”

Rose bristled at the tone, but knew that arguing the point would be childish. She met the golden gaze of the man, noting that they were identical to those of Merric, whatever else his name was. His though held the weight of the world, and yet its strength radiated in them. A man who knew how to stand against the storm when it was hopeless and hold his pride.

Unlike Merric, his skin was a burnt sienna, comparable to some African tones, yet it held some unknown quality to it she could not fathom. The woman besides him had skin so blue it was like the depths of the ocean resided in it. Her feature, so delicate, she looked like a flower the slightest breeze would disembowel.

She turned to the other couple, they too had exotic colouring. The man had pale skin with spiraling tattoos that seemed to be etched under his skin, unlike normal tattoos. Outlaid in a faint luminescent green they were beautiful, in a way nothing she had ever seen was. His green eyes held the same faint luminescence and were set off by his pitch black hair.

The woman with him had skin a darker grey than prince Daire, petite, she nonetheless projected the physical strength of a mountain of a man. It was eerie, how she looked slim, delicate and yet that sense enveloped her so that you only had to see her to know she could break even the strongest of males.

Rose sighed at the weirdness if them all, even lady Gwen whom she had thought normal, was anything but. Her skin glowed in the sunlight that was coming from the large windows she was facing. Her hair gleamed even more than it had before, as if it absorbed and enhanced the sunlight.

“I’m sleeping on the couch at home and having a weird dream.” She stated, “I’d like to wake up now.”

As if that would be enough to wake her. Really, her mind had surpassed anything she had ever imagined. How had she come up with such varieties of beings? She certainly couldn’t call them human.

“I wish it were so for your sake.” Lady Gwen sympathized. “But I did summon you to our plane and cannot tell you otherwise.”

Anguished eyes met the lady’s. “Why?”

Her compassionate eyes became earnest, their brown depths holding truth so profound it was blinding. “Our world is dying. My family has spend eons trying to stem the tide but nothing they did ever made a difference. Their efforts however allowed me to find the only answer we have, you and your friends.”

Rose wanted to laugh at the absurdity of it, but she remembered her earlier hysteria and decided to keep it in. She didn’t want to be the answer to their problems, because, honestly what was her important work compared to the survival of a world? Much as she wanted significance this was more than she could believe in. What made them so special that they were the chosen ones out of the billions on earth.

“What’s so special about us that you would choose us out of all the people on earth?” She demanded still unwilling to believe.

“You and your friends have the greatest power of all, powers that have never been seen on Seleucia.” She paused as if choreographed for effect. “You have elemental magic.”

This time Rose did laugh. It came out hollow and laced with disbelief. A painful sound that had nothing in common with what it resembled. What made it even more awkward was that everyone else in the room just waited her out as if it were the most normal of reactions. Surely if they bought this story they would have some sort of reaction other than acceptance of her obvious disbelief?

Needing to ground herself and suddenly aware of it, Rose removed the compact pack that had been at her back all this time. She couldn’t recall putting it there nor had she been aware of its presence until then.

Suppressing the chill that shivered down her spine at the errant thought that concluded magic might have been the culprit she reached into it, unaware until she had it in her hand, that she had reached for her phone.

Like all technology on earth phones had become so sophisticated it was rather ridiculous to call them that. It was a bit longer than a fountain pen of old but held the same shape as to be mistaken for it should it somehow end up in the time period where they had existed. Hey, with new worlds being real, who knew about time travel.

With a flick of a finger on the smooth silver surface a holographic display showed the last contact to be called. Swiping the holo to the left or right showed the previous contact or next alphabetical contact.

“What is that?” Rose looked up to see prince Daire focused on her phone with intense curiosity. She welcomed his question, latching onto it as if it were a life jacket in a storm tossed sea.

“It’s a cell phone.” She replied.

“What magic does it use?”

“It’s not magic, just a scientific feat. It...” She paused looking at the smiling holographic picture of he friend Ana. She had been the last person to call just before she started her morning meditation.

While she could have used several rooms in the sprawling mansion they shared, Ana chose to have her morning meditation in a clearing just an hour’s walk from the out of their way home. Her call to reassure Rose that she had arrived was the last thing she remembered.

Looking at the display Rose tapped it to put a call through to her. When she answered it would lay to test all this ‘on another world idiocy’.

As it rang, Rose felt relief coursing through her, there was no way she would have network on another world. She gave the talented group of actors a glare as she waited for her friend to answer. They had almost had her, what with their weird colouring and all, but that could be explained by temporary gene enhancement.

Instead of makeup to portray aliens, actors now used TGE to achieve amazing results. It cut down on the long man hours prosthetic makeup used to take. The down side being that TGE lasted for a mere three hours and had higher risks of the all but eradicated cancer.

“Rose!” The relieved cry startled her but as her brain registered her friend’s voice she let out a breath that took all the starch out of her.

“Oh, thank God.” She prayed. “Please tell me you’re still meditating.” She begged even though there were no trees around Ana as there would be if she was still in her clearing.

“You’re on Seleucia too.” The dismay in her friend’s voice stabbed at her hopeful heart.

“How is that possible? How can you believe it?”

Ana laughed without humor, there was a lot of that going on. “The horse sized falcon I just rode on put paid to my doubts.”

“Gene manipulation, even though the Sydney convention is against it, there are always some mad scientists who think they can disregard the law.” She was desperate for a sane explanation, anything.

Instead of answering, Ana shifted the view so that Rose could see the plateau of buttes and mesas stretching as far as the eye could see. Unlike the Grand Canyon the landscape was lush with vegetation, reminiscent of the tropical savanna. Wildflowers ran amuck in a startling fashion that only nature could paint.

A single spire of earth rose in the otherwise flat tops, atop which a golden fortress city rose into the clouds. This was not earth, they were no longer on earth.

Again she shifted the view to show Rose a tall man with purple streaked blonde hair and skin that glowed a faint green in the sun. He reminded her of the two men she had first met in the basement of the castle, as if he too had been cast in the same mold.

“Conference call.” She stated once the view was back to Ana. “I’ll call Jaiya and you call Kim.”

Ana nodded. “Call Kim.” She stated at the same time as Rose said, “Dial Jaiya.”

After two rings the screen from Jaiya’s phone displayed ‘CTD’, can’t talk, danger, an abbreviation only the four of them used.

She met Ana’s horrified gaze just as the fourth screen popped up to show a strange man. Unable to take more of this and knowing she was at the end of her tether Rose just stared at the violet eyed stranger who had gotten his hands on her friend’s phone. No way was he from earth.

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