A great many years ago, when the Doilérie still lived in peace and there were still a great many of them, there was a girl named Keri. After the disappearance of her parents she was left with a mother and her daughter in the small town of Henna. Keri was different from the rest of the town's people in many ways. First and foremost she looked nothing like them with her pale skin, grey eyes, and long, dark, black hair that seemed devoid of light. Not only was her appearance different but her personality as well. Keri enjoyed staying indoors during the day, but given the chance, she would stay outside the entire night and only come in at dawnHenna was a small town in the kingdom of Actaea. The King of Actaea did not care much for the outlying villages of his kingdom and left them to govern themselves. Henna, being closed off from many of its neighbors by a large forest that seemed to stretch forever. This is where Keri came from. At around the age of two, she was found just inside the wood with nothing but a strange pendant that was clutched in her tiny hands. The child from the woods was forever named an outcast from the rest of the town, and only the kindness of one widowed woman saved her from being left to die in a dangerous place.
"Keri!" Shouted Evhen. "Where are you?" Keri, who had been in her room, with a dark cloth covering the room's only window, answered. "In my room!" "Well come outside! I want you to meet someone!" Evhen shouted, not unkindly though. After all Keri was like a daughter to her. Ever since her parents had disappeared Keri had been under the care of Evhen and Evhen's daughter Reowna (Ree-own-a) who was about two years older than Keri herself. Although Keri knew that Evhen loved her, she also knew that she would always, in Evhen's heart, be second to bratty Reowna .
After Evhen asked her to come outside for a second time Keri obliged. She trudged through the small two story stone house. Mind you, Keri thought to herself. It is hard to call it a two-story house when Reowna 's room takes up the entire second floor. But just before she had reached the doorway her thought process was interrupted by a loud cough from a strange boy who looked to be eighteen or nineteen who was standing next to Reowna. As soon as Keri saw whom the person was she groaned internally. It was Dearg, the son of a wealthy merchant that had just moved to Henna with their son who was a few years older than her. From what she could tell he was a spoiled brat who wanted only the best for himself and the two or three people he cared about. As far as he was concerned everyone else could catch the plague, die painfully, and he wouldn't even feel a bit of remorse.
Reowna, however, seemed to have a completely different opinion. She was cozying up to Dearg when Evhen spotted Keri. "Come on out honey" She said. "This is Dearg, son of Daghda, the merchant who just moved into town. "I know." Keri said. "We've met." She was referring back to last week when they had met for the first time. He as well as some of the few friends had stopped and stared when she walked past. Keri asked Dearg what his name was and if something was wrong (because it looked as if he was the leader of the group) and he just asked her name. She answered "Keri." That's when he looked her in the eye and said coldly "Well, Keri, you might want to watch your back because I've herd some strange rumors about you." Keri replayed, her voice dangerously calm "Well I can assure you that any rumors about me were and are completely false. “One of Dearg's cronies answered "Are you so certain?" "Would you bet your life on that?" And that’s when she punched him. Not in the arm, not in the jaw, smack in the center of his face. The 16 year old recoiled and fell on the ground. At the same time, Keri kicked Dearg in the shin. After her last blow was received she sprinted off in the direction of home. One look at Dearg and she knew that he wasn't going to try anything soon. "You will have to excuse Keri" Reowna said. "She can be a little rude sometimes.'' Keri shot Rìghnach a "You’re going to pay for that later" look. "So," said Keri after a few awkward seconds had passed. "Anything interesting happen lately?'' "No." said Dearg. "It has been calm here for a long while now. This was never the case in the village where I lived before. Where I came from, there was a public event once a week.'' He finished. Keri thought to herself, "Well good for you and your old town. See what we care if there was a public event every week to keep you all entertained!" As much as she wanted to say this, Keri kept her thoughts to herself.
At that time, however, Evhen said to Reowna. "Weren't you going to tell us something honey?" "Ummm, Well.'' Reowna said. ''You see, I was hoping to tell you when the three of us were alone." Keri knew that by "The three of us." she meant herself, Evhen, and Dearg. Evhen gave her a strange look but then said "Keri would you go to your room for a minute?'' Not wanting to disappoint Evhen, but still wanting to make Reowna pay for her last comment, "Are you sure you don't want me to say? I’m sure that I can help whatever it is you want to say," Keri said with narrowed eyes. "Positive," Reowna answered. "Fine." said Keri who in Evhen's clearly looked very annoyed, so she asked, "Reowna , are you certain that Keri can't say out here with us?" "Yes mother," She answered while rolling her eyes. "Keri can't say out here while we are having a conversation that she doesn't need to be involved in. That would defeat the whole purpose of sending her inside." Keri, knowing she wasn't wanted, went back inside to her room and slammed the door. She sat on the bed and looked at the dark covering over the window and sighed.
The rest of the day went as planed. The three ate dinner, did some chores, and sat by the fire. After a half hour they all left to go to bed. Keri lay in bed, and began to wonder why Reowna had acted so strangely around Dearg. One conclusion came to mind but it was too horrible to even think. Eventually she drifted to sleep, mulling over the events of the day. Sleep never came easy for Keri when it was dark. She always had the urge to stay outside till dawn. Lately it had been harder than ever because of the full moon that had been shining over Henna recently. It was strange, normally the full moon only came once a month but so far it had been up for a full week. The town's people didn't care but Keri did. She knew that there was something strange going on, but couldn't put her finger on it.
Keri's week went on normally except Reowna still acted weird around Dearg and they were often seen together. Keri knew something was going on, and often took to watching the two of them. Her conclusion still stood, the same as before, but she still couldn't believe it. The thought of Reowna and Dearg dating was just too horrible to imagine. But the two did continue to do whatever it is that they did and after several months there were some startling results.
One morning Keri woke to the sound of Reowna and Evhen shouting. "I will not tolerate this any longer!" Said Evhen. "Well you can't rule over my life like it's your own!" Came Reowna reply. Evhen, by the sound of it, was ready to give up just yet. "I am not ruling over your life! I am simply trying to help you make the right decisions!" "Well I don't like what you have to say about him!" Snapped Reowna. Then there was a door slam, and then all was quiet.
Keri got up and walked into the kitchen pondering the events that has just occurred. When she walked in, Evhen was washing some dishes with her back to Keri looking out the window. "What was that all about," asked Keri? Evhen looked up and behind her and seemed to be thinking of a response. After a moment she put down the dishes and leaned against the wall and said, "Dearg has asked Reowna to marry him." Keri's jaw dropped and a look of surprise and confusion clouded her face. "But she's only known him for a month!" "I know." Answered Evhen, her face like a mask on concern and bewilderment. "Reowna has accepted, and they are going to get married on the summer solstice."
"That's terrible!" Said Keri. Evhen raised an eyebrow and said, "Why?" "Well it's just that..." Keri said smartly. "He's a jerk." She finally answered. "And I would feel sorry for anyone who meets him, much less marries him." Evhen gave a small smile and said, "I know you aren't very fond of him, and quite frankly neither am I, but all I can ask is for you to pretend to be happy for them." "Alright, I'll try, but I can't make any promises." "You're trying is all that I need from you. "Evhensaid. "Why don't you go and congratulate them." Keri grimaced and said "Alright, but just so you know I will NOT have anything to do with the wedding preparations or the wedding itself." Evhen smiled again and said, "I won't force you. Now go and congratulate them." Then added as an afterthought as Keri headed out the door, "And make sure to smile!"
Keri knew that Reowna and Dearg liked to sit under a certain oak tree near the edge of town where they could be alone and it was quiet. So naturally, that was the first place she thought to look. When she got there she immediately noticed that they were not there but they had been there recently because there was a new carving in the tree that wasn't there that morning when she had gotten up early to get a bucket of water. After getting the water she had gone back to bed because it was still dark out and she was tired. The next place she looked was at Derg's house. Though they were not there either she saw that there was a great commotion going on inside. Probably because of the wedding Keri thought to herself.
After about an hour she found them by the pond on the opposite side of the town as the oak tree. When Keri reached them she was tired of walking, but stood in front of them. When the couple looked up Keri put on a smile and said, "I heard the big news and I'm happy for you. If there is anything that you need just ask." Reowna looked confused but said, "Thanks’... I think." Reowna was more polite than Dearg by a long shot. He just stared at her like she was crazy for even talking to him in such a polite manner. After an awkward silence that lasted a few seconds Keri said goodbye and started back home. As soon as her back was to Reowna she dropped her smile and resumed her walk with a frown. In reality Keri was not happy for the "Happy" couple because in reality she knew that it would not last more than a year. She then cursed the fact that the summer solstice was in two months, which meant that the preparations for the wedding would be both vast and numerous.
After returning home Keri was confronted by Evhen. She asked, "How did it go?" "Ok.'' Keri answered. "At least there were no rude remarks made, but Dearg looked at me like I was crazy." He probably wasn't used to you talking to him, much less begin polite." Answered Evhen. "The engagement was announced to the public today and the time of the wedding will be at noon." Keri made a face and said, "Why can’t anyone we know have a wedding at night." "Why?" Asked Evhen. "Because," answered Keri, "everything looks like it is outlined in silver at night and it's when I feel most awake. Also, it's not as hot." "You have a point there," Said Evhen with a laugh, "you look half asleep most days and it is boiling in the summer. "See! Everything is better at night!" Keri said with excitement. Not many people shared her view of how nice it is outside under the stars and the moon with its silver rays that illuminated the darkness. "Well almost everything" Evhen said after a moment. "The only problem is that you can't see!" She said laughing. "Now perhaps you should get to your chores." Keri was about to walk out of the room but then stopped and turned to Evhen and asked, "Will Reowna be living with us after the wedding?" "I suppose not." Answered Evhen who looked sad at the thought of her daughter moving out. With that thought in mind Keri left the room with a grin that stretched from ear to ear.
So Keri did everything with a new vigor, because she knew that soon there would be no more Reowna . Weeks passed and soon the household was busy with preparations. By the time the summer solstice was upon them everything was in order from who was invited to what necklace Evhen would where (because Reowna had insisted on telling everyone what to where.) Keri began to notice how Reowna seemed to get brattier and brattier as the wedding drew ever nearer.
"Keri," shouted Reowna , "get me some water!" Keri, who had been asleep, replied, "Get it yourself!" "Don't make me get angry! My wedding is tomorrow and I don't want it spoiled because of you!" Came her reply. Keri rolled her eyes and got up because Evhen had made her promise to do everything she could to keep Reowna happy. When Keri reached the den Reowna asked, "What took you so long? I asked for some water like three times!'' Keri did everything she could not to snap back at her but she did say, "Well your highness, when you're exhausted from yesterday's work and you just want five minutes of sleep it takes a while to get someone something as trivial as water.'' Reowna looked like she wanted to argue but held her tongue. She then went, got the water, gave it to Reowna , and then walked out of the room.
"If that is all that her highness needs than I will be going back to bed." Keri muttered. Once she was back in her room Keri collapsed on the bed and fell back to sleep with one thought coursing through her mind one more day till this is all over. As the day wore on Keri slept, and when night came she woke to the moon letting its rays fall over her eyes through a hole in the cloth. She was fully rested and did not foresee herself getting back to sleep so Keri crept outside. The moon was full and it was a pleasantly cool evening. After an hour Keri went back inside because she knew that if she looked tired or bored at the wedding Reowna would skin her.
The next morning was the day of the wedding and the household was a mess of preparations. When noon came Keri stepped out of the house in a short sleeved, navy blue dress that fell past her knees and a gold compass that hung on a rather long chain. The compass was decorated with an inscription on the back, only, Keri couldn’t read because it was in a language she did not understand. Reowna hated the sight of it because as intriguing as it was, it was old, tarnished, and the needle in the center didn’t point north; Reowna hated anything that is not new and perfect. For that reason, Keri wore the compass every day. So that she could annoy Reowna , and so that she could get back at her for bossing Keri around for weeks before the wedding. Evhen wore a violet dress with a matching pendant and earrings. The two made their way to the oak tree at the edge of town where the wedding was to be held. Dearg was dressed in his best and there were chairs set up in rows facing an arch with entwined white roses throughout.
Keri and Evhen sat in the front row with a clear view of the ceremony. After everyone was seated the wedding began and Reowna walked down an aisle in between the chairs. Even to Keri Reowna looked beautiful; in a long white dress that looked as though it had a slight violet tint and her golden locks of hair were left flowing down to her waist. Her icy blue eyes looked straight ahead at her future husband, Dearg, with happiness and excitement.
After the wedding, To Keri's great annoyance, everyone proceeded to the opposite side of the town to the lake and there they had a reception under a white pavilion. The people there celebrated and ate till it grew dark outside. Keri kept to herself most of the time and was thankful when it grew dark because she could blend in. The only time Keri entered the pavilion was when she became hungry and went to get food. Even though she had done nothing nor even made a sound, stares still followed her everywhere.
Everywhere Keri looked she saw people enjoying themselves but as usual, Keri was not having a good time. When the dancing started she practically ran out of the pavilion. Once she was a good distance away Keri stopped to enjoy the moon and its surrounding stars. She noticed that once again it was full. Eventually Keri lay down on a stone bench and gazed up at the stars. They were many different colors but her favorites were blue and white. There were other colors such as red and yellow in many different shades. Later on Evhen came out from under the pavilion and asked' "Keri, are you cold?" Keri sprang up because she was startled. "A little, my dress is not that warm. It has thin fabric." "Well you can use my shawl, I took the black one just in case you get cold. I know has much you like wearing that color." "Thanks," Keri said as Evhen walked away.
Keri then lay down on the grass. It was cool and the night was warm. The combination felt good. The hours dragged on, and slowly but steadily the guests left until there was just Keri, Evhen, Reowna , Dearg, and Dearg's parents. "Keri! Come here!' Shouted Evhen. Keri grudgingly got up off the grass and went to see what Evhen wanted. While she walked, a thought came to her and she paused in her steps Reowna and Dearg have their own house... The wedding is over... Reowna is gone! Keri put on a smile and walked up to Evhen. Evhen said, "Reowna is leaving now. Would you want to say goodbye?" Keri thought about it. Saying goodbye had always been her dream and now that it was here she couldn't decide how to say it. Would she be sincere, happy, pretend to be sad, or just keep a straight face. She decided on keeping straight face, although with difficulty. "Bye then," Keri said. "Bye," answered Reowna . Dearg's parents looked surprised to see that Keri was not sad. His mother asked, "Aren’t you upset that your sister is moving out?" "She is not my sister" Keri replied immediately with defiance and conviction. Keri then turned to Evhen. "Can I go now?" Evhen sighed, and then answered, “I suppose so." Keri sprinted off in the direction of home again and as she ran she shouted "Bye!" She was out of breath by the time she reached the village square and had to stop. Unfortunately, that was a mistake. Some of Dearg's buddies came out of the shadows; apparently from doing something Keri guessed was against the law. But she couldn't see what they were doing. To bad, she thought. It would be nice to see them in the stocks for a few days; maybe I would have been able to throw some tomatoes from the compost pile at them. Unfortunately again, she was still out of breath from running. So, she improvised.
“The pub is that way. You all can go and get into trouble there and see if you're penalized. It’s what you do best." Keri said pointing down the road. "It's not your business to ask." "No you're right. But I'm sure it is the leader of this village's business." She retorted. "Scram freak. Nobody wanted you here anyway." The older boy snarled back. "Hey! Who are you calling freak! If there is anyone in this town who is freaky it's you! You have no soul!" Something in the boy’s face began to turn scarlet and he began walking towards her. Keri did the first thing that popped into her head. She ran for it, but not before she picked up a rock and hurled it at the boy's face. It hit its mark perfectly, causing the idiot to stop and fall suddenly.
When he got back up he resumed the chase, "Get back here," he shouted. However, Keri had only intended to by herself a few extra seconds. Not many people knew, because of running pre-wedding errands for Reowna (who wanted everything she asked for exactly when she asked for it), Keri had become a rather fast runner.
The house was still rather far away and she doubted that she would make it before the other boys caught up. So, she improvised again, and ran in the direction of the forest that was on the West side of the town. Keri chanced a glance back. To her dismay the boys did not falter and pursued her still. With no other option in mind, Keri ran straight into the forest. She didn't stop for a long while because she feared that the boys were right behind her. When she was at last out of breath and felt that running was no longer an option she stopped and fell panting onto the grassy forest floor.
It was nearly dawn. Keri did not know which way she had come because she had run in zigzags. At first she began to panic, but then she stopped to think. I did I really enjoyed living in Henna. No one there even enjoys my presence except for Evhen. She thought with a pang of sadness for Evhen living alone. But then she came to her senses. I have nothing there, only solitude and snide remarks. Keri had made up her mind. She was going to leave Henna behind. Keri decided that the forest would be her new home and she would let nobody take that away from her. The forest was old but many there was a town nearby where she could snag some clothes and something to eat.
First things first, I need to sleep. I'm tired from the wedding, tired from running, and tired from being awake for about twenty hours. Keri looked around and saw a low tree branch. She climbed on and then used that branch to get higher up into the tree. When she was in the middle of the tree she found a group of branches that grew together and tied Evhen's shawl in between them like a hammock. (Evhen for some reason preferred very long shawls) She tested it, and then got in. It felt good to lie down and relax. As she drifted to sleep she realized just how much happier she felt at the thought of leaving Henna.
When she awoke, Keri realized that it was dark out again and that the moon was still full so she could see. Keri got out of her makeshift hammock and untied it. She then got down out of the tree. If I'm going anywhere I need to figure out which direction I want to go in. She thought to herself. Keri looked around and saw that there was moss growing on the trees. She had heard a long time ago that the moss always grew on the north side of the trees and so decided that if Henna lay east of here, she would go the opposite way and head West.
She had been walking for an hour when she found that it was rather hard to walk in the shoes she had on, so she took them off and threw them as far away as possible. Remembering with disgust that the only reason she had them was because bratty Reowna had asked Dearg to by her new shoes for the wedding saying, "Keri only has one pair of shoes and they are beaten up and ugly. I don't want her to wear them to our wedding." She then set off again. After she had gotten about two miles from her shoes she also found that the dress she was wearing was rather hard to walk in. So, she stopped, tore off most of the sleeves so that they were just a thin strap on her shoulders, and tore off the bottom of her dress so it came a few inches past her knees. Keri found that she made good progress after these adjustments and was much faster. By dawn she had gotten, so she guessed, about 10 miles between her and the tree she had slept in. Not counting the distance she ran from the older idiots. When four more hours passed Keri gathered that she had walked another 8 miles for a total of about 16 to 17 miles from the tree. By this time, Keri was tired and decided rather hungry. She spotted some berry bushes and went and ate some of them as well as some mushrooms. Keri didn't know if they were harmful and thought about what would happen if they were. But she squashed that thought saying; Even if I die it won't matter because I don't have a final goal. I'm alone. I am a wander. And I will say that way. After she had eaten she went to find another tree to sleep in. After about 5 minutes she found one and remade her hammock. Keri fell asleep listening to the birds sing around her and she felt rather content.
On Keri's second day of walking, she covered about 20 miles. Only stopping when she came to a river to drink. Keri's days went on similar to this for what felt like weeks. She occasionally met a large animal and would scamper up a tree if it seemed hungry or if it was getting to close for comfort. She also began to carry around a large strait branch from an old oak tree for defense and for walking. It also came in handy when she found a large Apple tree with branches to high to climb. She simply used the stick to knock down some apples. And the ones she didn't eat she carried with her in Evhen's shawl.
After a month of walking through the thick forest and living off of things she could find, Keri heard a strange noise in the late afternoon air. At first she thought it was just birds but there were two many other sounds in it to be birds. Keri headed towards the sound and noticed that the trees had become thinner and younger. The voice grew louder with every footstep she took and at last when she went past a large bush she saw the source of the racket. It was a small town, similar to Henna, but different because it seemed more lively and cheerful.
Keri almost walked in right then and there, but then a smart voice in her head told her otherwise. If Keri were to just ‘walk in’ people would notice something was strange about her. For one thing, she wasn’t an adult yet, and then there was the fact that she was filthy dirty. Bad Idea… Keri thought to herself. So Keri sat down behind the large bush and ate an apple while she waited. When dark finally came and most of the townspeople were asleep, Keri crept into the town by going between to shops that both had their lights out. Looking around she spotted many more shops. This must be the town square where all the shopping is done. I have heard of people living above their shops so I will have to be quiet if I am to get what I need. With a slight twinge of guilt, Keri took a metal scrap she had found a long while back in the woods and began to pick the lock on a store that had clothes displayed. When she was met with success, Keri crept inside the shop.
The floor was made of stone so she did not make a sound as she crept barefoot over to a shelf of shirts. Out of them she took one long sleeved and one short sleeved black shirt. Then she walked tip toed over to the shelf with pants on it and took two pairs of long pants. She also chose a pair of boots because she was afraid she might step on something. Just before she left she saw a line of leather bags that were hung on the wall. Of those she chose a simple brown one with a flap that had a metal fastener on it so it would not spill as easily most bags would. Then she crept back out of the shop and closed the door with a soft creek.
Looking around she saw a sign that showed a large, cooked, bird. She picked the lock to that one as well. To her relief this room also had a stone floor. She crept around the room collecting things she could bring with her and putting them on a counter by one wall of the shop. Most of the food Keri took was bread and cheese, but she did take some meat just because she thought that she would want it. Before putting anything into the bag however, she wrapped each item in paper and then in some cloth that she found in a barrel at the clothing store. After everything was in place she looked around to make sure that nothing looked out of place because it if did and someone came to the shop before she left then, let's just say, things were going to get messy. Her final stop was at a store that sold wine. Keri did not drink wine because she did not like alcohol, but the wine shop did have skins that could carry water. There was also a nice dagger advertised in the shop window. Keri picked the lock to that store and was quite frightened to see that the floor was made of wood, and that at the far side of the shop there was a doorway with stairs that she guessed led up to a bedroom. Keri cautiously stepped onto the floor and she was greeted with a creek of wood. Keri winced. In the silence of night the slight creek sounded like an explosion of noise.
Slowly and cautiously she crept across the creaky floor and made her way to the skins on the right side wall. She grabbed three and then slowly walked over to the display case. She gingerly lifted the dagger but realized only as she went to put it into her bag that the dagger had a cord attached to it and on the other side of it was a fragile vase. So when she moved the dagger, the vase fell and made a loud crash.
Almost instantly the air was full of the shouts of a man who was on the level above Keri's. Keri didn't waste any time. She was out of the shop before anyone could come down the steps. She sprinted to the center of the town and quickly dipped one of the skins she had just taken into a well, closed its lid, and ran. The man from the shop had woken other people around the town with his shouts and Keri feared that there would soon be an entire town of people after her.
Keri was almost to the forest on the other side of the town when an ax flew past her and embedded itself in a tree just ahead of her. Keri knew the forest was her best bet for hiding but she decided on a much riskier plan. She had seen a horse in a barn earlier, the horse looked fast and Keri made a mental note of that before she entered the first shop. Now she headed straight for the horse. She jumped onto its back and because it was startled, it reared, nearly throwing Keri off in the process. Keri cut the rope that secured the horse with the dagger she had just stolen and urged the horse forward. The horse began to canter, and then it began to gallop. Keri steered the horse in the direction of a path that led out of the town. They had just passed the last building when an arrow flew past her, missing Keri's ear by an inch. " Keri as she rode around a curve in the path, out of the town, and down the path. After about an hour Keri stopped the horse and dismounted. She pointed in the direction of the town, which she had just robbed and said, "Go home I can't afford to feed myself and a horse. Besides, I need to go into the forest and you won't be any help there." To her surprise, the horse began to head in the direction of home and Keri, feeling exhilarated walked into the forest, no second thoughts.
Keri spent around a year wandering around the forest and sometimes entering a town or village by night to steal supplies. A year can change a lot of things, and so a year did change Keri. She had grown, not that she herself could have noticed. Her facial features had also changed a bit. Keri used the dagger she had taken to keep her hair a bit shorter than she used to wear it; it now fell about an inch past her shoulders. As a result of these changes, Keri looked older.
Physical changes weren’t the only changes that had occurred. Keri was more independent than she had been. However, not all new attributes to Keri’s personality were good. She had also become slightly reckless due to the fact that life in the forest with nothing to do is boring. Keri had taken to climbing to the top of the tallest trees in the surrounding forest to find large bird’s nests and seeking out wild animals like bears so that she could watch them go about their lives. Keri had also started throwing her dagger at nearby trees; her accuracy was now greatly improved and she could now hit a moving target with precision.
Keri finally settled down in a part of a forest that was very old with long branched trees and a cool stream. The area also had many edible plants and berry bushes growing all around it so she was never very hungry. Keri sometimes went to a certain village and took one or two things that she needed.
On a summer evening, much like the one that Reowna had gotten married on, Keri decided that she wanted to stop her thieving life once and for all. Keri still felt guilty after taking things that should not belong to her, even if she really needed it. Whenever she thought of all the things she had taken over the past year, Keri felt like a wave of guilt crashed over her and was subsequently trying to drown her. So, after some thought, she decided that she wanted to put that lifestyle style behind her, she would leave this area of the woods forever in a few days. Only, Keri needed one more thing. She needed a knife. Keri loved her dagger and made use of it often, although it was becoming dull and a new knife would help with hacking the branches off trees to build a new shelter.
Once she reached the village, she saw the night patrol that had been set up because of her robberies. It consisted of six men who all carried daggers, axes, clubs, pitchforks, a bow and a few arrows, or a sword. Tonight was going to be easy. The six men looked like farmers and they all carried clubs and pitchforks. She crept past them because they were asleep and picked the lock on the shop that she had chosen. It did not take her more than thirty seconds because she had become quite good at it. Once inside she picked up the first knife she saw. Keri grabbed it but then saw a better-made one farther away. Setting down the first knife, Keri crept over to the second knife and looked at it. It had a sharp blade and its sheath was made of strong leather. She picked up the blade and it’s accompanying sheath and walked out of the shop. Keri was just walking up to the guards when she heard someone shout, "There he is!" Keri froze looked around and then saw many more men charging at her. Most held clubs and pitchforks, but some had long, sharp swords and bows with many arrows. Keri sprinted off in the opposite direction as the mob of men. And muttered, ‘Idiots, nobody ever thinks that girls can do anything.’’ The men stopped in surprise, but only for a moment. Keri raced between shops and houses dodging arrows and axes. With that Keri plummeted into the forest again. However, the men would not give up so easily. The men chased her for at least two hours and by the first half hour Keri was tired beyond belief. The first chance she got Keri raced behind two large stones that concealed a cave. Inside the cave, there was a small spring, which flowed out of the cave and eventually joined a creek some distance away. Deciding to do something intelligent for once, Keri took out two of the skins that she had in her bag and filled them. After all, where is the next clean fresh water stream?
After the worst bit of the chase (the part where everyone shoots, throws, or launches things a person) Keri slipped out of the cave so that she could go back to the place where she had been staying. The first thing she noticed was that there were no more flying projectiles. Probably because they ran out, it's not like they were being conservative. Keri took a few cautious steps and then began an all out sprint away from the men. Unfortunately, the men saw her before she got very far. Go away people… I've got things to do and you're not helping. Keri thought. But before she could think of something to say arrows came whizzing past her again so she began to run... Again.
I've almost lost them! But I have no clue where I am. I know that I am as lost as they are so… What if I use that to my advantage? Keri realized that that was as good of a strategy as she was going to think of so she put that plan into action. The trees here looked very old and the river that Keri crossed was wide and deep. Still, she ran on. She could hear their shouts in the distance for a little while, and then eventually they faded away into silence. Keri ran on. After what felt like an age she stopped. Keri found herself in the deepest part of the forest. The trees here weren't old, they were ancient. The river had really old structures built near them, probably built when the forest was just old; the moon could barely be seen. (In Keri’s mind there were eight different types of ages… new, young, moderately old, old, very old, really old, old as snot, and ancient) I really need to simplify my different ages. Thought Keri.
Keri finally stopped and sat down on a nearby rock. She was as far away as possible from the idiotic men who were shooting at her. Note to self, don't visit them again, was the thought that passed through her mind. Once Keri's heart had slowed down and she had caught her breath, she got up and looked around. It was almost completely dark. The moon was almost invisible and its rays were hard to see.
Keri decided to investigate. She walked around and after about half an hour spotted a bridge that went over the deep river. On the other side there looked like there was a clearing of trees, but Keri did not trust her vision in this light. She made her way over to the bridge. It was wide, arched, and made out of gray stone that seemed to have been cut into perfect squares. On the squares, there was something embellished but in this light it was hard to tell.
Keri started across the bridge slowly, for fear of any loose stones, but eventually found she walking at a normal pace. On the other side there seemed to be a group of trees that made what looked like a gate out of their arched branches. The branches grew together in an interlocking pattern and in the center there was the shape of a star with many rays. Keri stared at it for many seconds and then reached out and touched it. The gate... Tree... Thingy... Had a smooth feeling and the star shape been actually a clear stone.
Keri touched the stone and many things happened at once. The stone glowed silver, the gate thingy began to open, and Keri could hear voice. After the gate opened, Keri saw something so beautiful she couldn't believe it existed. There was a huge clearing that seemed to go on forever and which seemed to glow under the moon's rays. The grass was thriving so that there was not a dead patch anywhere. Silver lilies bloomed everywhere. But the thing that stunned Keri most was the town that was in the center the clearing. It was glowing with silvery light and there were lots of people in the town. Keri walked forward, not even thinking. There was a noise behind her and she spun around. The gate was closing. Keri ran back but was too late, the gate closed with a loud "Thunk."
With nowhere else to go Keri headed towards the town. From a distance, she could tell that it was bustling with activity. Keri wondered, how long have they been here? Those buildings look ancient! How on earth do you keep them hidden? Why are they hidden? Who are they? Keri's last question was the best of them all. Nothing Keri had ever heard her about or read about was even similar to what she was seeing. These people looked nothing like anyone Keri had ever seen.
Everyone had dark black hair that reflected all the stars, eyes like silver, and their entire bodies seemed to be outlined in a very slight glow of silver. Keri reached the town and saw for the first time in her life that people seemed to get along perfectly. There was no fighting or unhappiness. Everyone seemed calm, content, and happy. I wish that I could be like them, or one of them. They make life look so… easy. She felt ashamed that she wanted to be a part of these people. Why would she want to give up Evhen and the love that she gave to her? Evhen was like a mother to her when she had none. But deep down Keri never felt like she had ever had a mother or a father. There was no memory of them, in Keri's mind, or in anyone else's. No one even knew their names. But when she was with these people she felt like she belonged. They didn't even notice her walking around with them, which was, in Keri’s mind, an improvement.
Keri was then reminded of how often in Henna people avoided her, treated her like she was beneath them and used her for their own selfish needs. The people of Henna are stupid. Why would I want to go back? The only thing that made life worth living was Evhen. And now I will never see her again. All Keri felt was a pang of sadness at the fact that Evhen was probably still looking for her, or that she thought that Keri was dead. It's been more than a year... Evhen will think I am dead. No one else will care... Just Evhen.
Then Keri stopped short with a sickening feeling, she had left Evhen’s shawl in her home in the forest because she had been planning to go back. Let go of the past, and look towards the future, that is all that matters in the long run. Keri told herself, Dwelling on what happened won't help. Keri waited a moment, trying to let go. After a few seconds, she thought to herself, Why is everything so much easier in your head? Letting go is not nearly as easy as everyone think. She also said that the compass belonged to Keri’s parents. Because of that, she wore the pendant every day and used the shawl every night. By now Keri had reached the town square. It was in Keri's mind, one of the most beautiful things she had ever seen. There was a fountain in the center made from silver blocks with a star in the center. The water that shot out from the top seemed to glow like glass with a light shining through it. All around were trees with green leaves and surrounding those trees were the silver lilies from the field.
Seeing as there was no way out of the gate and that she was in the town already, Keri decided to spend the rest of the night there. She spotted a bench underneath one of the especially large trees and sat down. Under the tree with the stars shining brighter that Keri had ever seen them, time seemed to fly by, so that soon the square was empty, and Keri was alone. There was the occasional passerby but the sun was coming up and dawn was near. Keri was tired; she hadn't slept in a long while, and decided to get up off her bench. She left the beautiful square, walked down the road, and out of the town. Once she was in the grassy field, Keri noticed a rundown and empty looking house a distance away from the town. The house itself was wood, but it had peeling shell gray colored paint. Its' wooden boards looked old and strong like they had been made from the trees outside of the gate. There were a few rotten boards, but the house looked rather sturdy all the same. It was two floors, three counting the top window that she supposed looked out of the attic. There was a small spring near the house with luminescent white lilies growing around the far edge.
There were no lights inside the house and the grass around the house was upright everywhere she looked. Keri walked up to the front steps, and with a quick glance around to see if anyone was around, she went up onto the porch. The porch was in the same condition as the house, chipping paint over wooden boards. Keri put a cautious foot onto the aging front porch and it creaked loudly. She paused a second and then proceeded very slowly across to the front door. A dirty stained glass window depicting a certain constellation Keri had never seen took up a part of the door. She reached out and grasped the handle, then slowly turned it.
The door was unlocked and opened with a creek. The interior of the house was, as everything else, rundown, dirty, and broken. The first room, after walking through the door, bore the marks of once being well kept. It had a dusty staircase with a varnished, carved wood banister and a large landing halfway up the stairs. The walls had a chipped and faded design along with wood paneling. There were large windows that let in the last rays of moonlight, and the floor was made up of long wooden floorboards. There were about five other rooms on the bottom floor, but Keri chose to go and investigate the upper stories. She proceeded with caution over to the stairs, and with a moment’s hesitation, crept up them. At the top of the stairs, there was another hallway. This one was shorter and had two doors on each side and a door at the far end. The area in front of Keri was a room with a set of large double doors. The doors were made of glass and looked out onto a porch, which overlooked the spring. The walls and floors, she noticed, were the same as the ones downstairs. Keri decided to look around. She made her way to one of the two doors on each side of the hallway. Keri tried her luck with the one on the right. It was locked and didn't budge, so she tried the one on her right. This one was not locked and led into a bedroom. In here there was moth eaten carpet along with a large bed. The bed had grey-blue coverings and sat upon a wooden frame. There were two windows on the far side of the room bordered with wood framing. Geez, Somebody must have liked their wood! Keri thought to herself. That or they ran out of stone. After all, the town isn't that small... She then left the bedroom, closed the door behind her, and found herself in the hallway once again.
Keri would have tried going out onto the porch, but... There was the fact that it may not be very stable causing her to fall through the floor and kill herself. Dying, not on my To Do list anytime soon. She thought. That just left the bottom story and the far door to investigate. Keri walked over to the last door, by this time the sun had come over the horizon and bright morning light was shining through the windows. Again with the sun! When's the next eclipse! She grasped the handle, and with the hope of finding a room without any windows where she could finally sit down and get some rest, opened the door.
Apparently fate was just not on her side. When Keri opened the door she saw the silhouette of someone framed against a bright window directly in front of her. The person appeared to be a tall, thin boy with long legs and hair that seemed to stick up slightly. Unable to think of anything better to do, Keri took a quick step towards the door but tripped over an uneven floorboard, landing on her back. The boy seemed to have the same idea, except that he tripped over a the corner of a fireplace on the opposite side of the room. Keri leaped to her feet, as did the boy. "How did you get in here," the boy said in alarm. "The door was unlocked," Keri answered, who was as equally alarmed. The boy then asked a different question, “Is there anyone else here, or are you by yourself?" Keri started to relax a bit, because, after all he was alone. "I was by myself last time I checked unless there is an invisible, soundless, and intangible person following me, which most likely is not the case." The boy stared at Keri for a couple of seconds, then burst out laughing. Keri also relaxed a little more, but after the night she had been having, Keri wasn't quite ready to let her guard down.
Now that he had stepped out from in front of the window, Keri could make out what the boy looked like. He looked about her age, sixteen, and had black hair, which did, in fact, stick up slightly, as well as blue eyes that were a startlingly deep blue. "What's your name, the boy asked?” “ Keri," answered Keri. Then she asked, "What's your name?" "Ryan," he answered. "Why are you here? Nobody ever comes here, mostly because they don't know it exists. But still." said Ryan. "It's a long story," Keri answered truthfully. "Well, I wasn't exactly doing anything before, you could say, I made your acquaintance. As long as you call that making an acquaintance. You could also call it scaring the living daylights out of me." Ryan said. Keri frowned and said, "Are you sure you want to know my story. It is not exactly happy." Ryan smiled and said,"The mood of a story is all in how it is told. I could tell you a story about how someone died painfully, but if I added some running commentary it would be hilarious. So... please can you tell your story... life is usually very boring in this place." "OK, but you're listening at your own risk." So, without further ado, Keri told her story, from begining to end.
Once Keri had finished Ryan stayed quiet for a while, but then asked, "Where is Henna again?" Keri shrugged her shoulders because, in truth, she had no idea, so she said, "I hope far away. Anyways, why are you all the way out here? It's your turn for a story." This time, it was Ryan's turn to shrug his shoulders. He said, "I'll give you the short version. I hate my house and I hate the cousin I live with." "Why don't you live with your family," Keri asked. Ryan seemed to be unaccustomed to talking about the reason he was unhappy, but he said. "About thirteen years ago, there was a group of people that protected our borders by eliminating anything that threatened the people. Most of the members were young parents or the occasional teen, like my parents. Anyway, the 'Lost Group' as people refer to them now, had to go on some kind of quest or mission, but no one ever came back. " If Ryan was uncomfortable, he was a good actor. Keri couldn't think of anything to say. After a while she asked, "Do you miss them?" "Not really," He answered, "I didn't know them. It's hard to miss someone you don't know. I am more annoyed with them for leaving me with Ennis, my much older cousin." "I wish I knew what had happened to my family," Keri said. "I don't know who or what I am. "Well," said Ryan, "That’s the biggest identity crisis I've ever heard of." "Thanks," Keri said sarcastically. Ryan's eyebrows suddenly furrowed, and then he said, "Wait... if you didn't know your parents, then how do you know your name?" Keri pulled out her gold compass pendant and showed Ryan the inscription on the back. "I don't know what it says, but Evhen did." Ryan thought for a second, and then said, "Evhen is..." "She was like a mother to me, remember?" "Ohh... right, I knew that." "I'm sure you did," Keri teased. Ryan looked at the inscription on the back of the compass. After a few seconds he said, "It's like a family tree or something. It basically confirms that you are you and it had the names of a whole bunch of ancestors. I think it says that your father was named Keiran, and your mother was Kira." Keri stared at Ryan as if he was nuts, but couldn't bring herself to speak. However, she didn't have to, "That's a lot of K's," Ryan said. Keri nodded. Ryan flipped over the pendant, glanced at the front, looked away, then did a double take. "Hold it! I have the answer to life's greatest mystery!" Ryan shouted. "What is life's greatest mystery then?" Keri asked, who was annoyed at the fact that Ryan had startled her. "Well, more like your life's greatest mystery," he said, "Anyway, this is your pendant, obviously, but you will never guess what." "What," Keri guessed. "I said you would never guess what, that means that you can guess anything else except for what!" Ryan joked. "Ryan, please, pretend that I am going somewhere in the next five minutes, so you would have to be quick and simple." "Fine grouch. I was going to say that we have the same pendant.” "Wait... What?" Keri asked. From around his neck, Ryan pulled out the exact same pendant, only the back of his had a different inscription. “This creates the point that…” Ryan began, but then stopped. "I take it you want me to ask, that what" Keri said. "Much obliged," Ryan said, "That... you are like me! You are one of the Lost Team's member's family! Each member had a pendant that marked them as a part of that team. Usually, they would pass on the pendant to a close family member if they thought that they were not going to come home. Also, as an added bonus, because you have the pendant, that would make you one of the Doilérie!" "What is the Doilérie," asked Keri. “It is the race of people that live in this area of the Forever Wood.” "I get that, but does Doilérie have a meaning," Keri asked. “It means People of The Night,” said Ryan. “Why are you called that,” asked Keri. “Umm…” Ryan said, “our lives revolve around the night. There are two types of people, The Maidin and the Doilérie. The Maidin are the people of day. There populate most of the lands because they are always conquering other people. That’s why our people came to live here so long ago. To get away from the Maidin. We seem like a small people, but let me assure you, there are a lot more of us than most would think. “Oh… That was a stupid question,” Keri said. Ryan just shrugged his shoulders and said, “I've herd people say more stupid things.” “Like what?”
“Like… Can birds fly without wings?”
Keri thought a moment and said, “Well, I guess that's not too bad if a kid asked that.” “That's the problem,” Ryan said cracking a grin that seemed to appear a lot during a conversation, “It was a thirty-two year old adult. Although in their defense, they aren't the most observant person in the wide world.” “Are all people here like that,” Keri asked. “Nope, just the one guy,” he said.
“Well, the sun is coming up and I'm tired, so if you’re OK with it, I'm going bed because I'm tired," Ryan said. “Knock yourself out... I guess literally...” Keri said. “Although, quick question, if you have a home to stay at in the town, why don't you go there?” “Because,” he said simply, “it's boring there and nobody ever notices I'm gone. Besides I can talk to you, there is nobody to talk Realta.” “What's Realta and how do you know that nobody notices that you’re gone,” Keri asked. “Realta is this place,” Ryan said moving his hand in a circle. “This entire clearing is Realta, but haven’t had any contact from other people in like, 600 years.” If Keri looked confused, it was nothing compared to the confusion inside her mind. “Ok…” Keri said slowly, but that still doesn’t answer my second question.” “Alright then,” Ryan said looking the slightest bit annoyed that Keri remembered her second question, “the reason people don’t notice that I’m gone is because they're never home. They’re always out with friends going to places where I can’t or won't go.”
Nobody said anything for a while, partly because they both were tired, and finally the two decided to talk later; only after it was night again. The house was rather drafty, but because of that the warm summer air was able to come into the house making it quite comfortable. The day slipped by without much happening and soon the sun was, in perspective view, about an inch above the horizon. Keri and Ryan had been awake for a few minutes and were just watching the sun dip down out of sight.
“You know,” Ryan said after a long time, “this is, in my opinion, a rather strange time of day. The sun is still shining, sort of, but you can sometimes make out some of the first stars in the sky. It’s like someone wanted to see what day and night looked like together so they took the two and stuck them together.” Keri thought a moment and then said, “I bet there is some truth in that. It’s like there is a balance of power, they slowly fade until only one I visible. Then the other comes and after fading again it is on top. There is no dominant light. And when you think about it you notice that the largest bodies in the sky are always party way visible. Like during the day you can see the moon if you know where to look, and at night the moon glows because of the sun’s light.” “Anything I was about to say has been squashed out of my mind now by your not so brief synopsis of the balance of power between night and day. But there is no denying it you are probably right… Probably.”
By now the sun had sank out of sight and the moon dominated the sky. “When you think about it,” Ryan said after a short pause, “you notice that some people naturally favor the day and there is now way to change their mind. It’s not like they don’t like the night, they just think the day is more vibrant and alive. I won't deny it, the day is nice and I don’t mind seeing it every once and awhile, but I think that the night has so many different perspectives that the people who favor day haven’t seen.” Keri laughed and said, “No kidding. When I was up during the day I thought that a clear blue creek or a white rose was pretty, but now when I look at those same things at night they have a different type of look. The creek looks like it has been mixed with silver and the rose looks even more vibrant under the moonlight.” Ryan was quiet for a while and then said, “This is completely off subject, but isn’t it amazing how one simple statement of opinion can start up and entire conversation.” Keri just looked at him with a mixture of confusion and amusement. After a moment she asked, “You want to go outside?” “Sure,” he answered and then said, “Let's go and look at the spring.” The two got up and walked out of the room. Before going downstairs Ryan quickly walked back to the room and closed the curtains and then closed the door. He just looked at Keri and said, “If anyone walked around here they might notice that the curtains are open and see our stuff in the room. We don’t want that because either they will come in and take it or they will figure out that there are people here and I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty sure we're not supposed to be here.”
Keri was both amused and annoyed so she said, “You tell me this now? I’ve been trying to think of a way to turn my life around and stop taking things from other people. I don’t enjoy taking their things but I do it out of need, not want. I thought that this was a breakthrough and that I was finally obeying some rules, but apparently fate just threw that breakthrough out the window.” Keri didn’t say this unkindly or even angrily. She, in Ryan’s eyes, just sounded annoyed. He didn’t blame her either so he let it slide. Instead he answered in his usual thoughtful manner, “Fate isn't usually kind.” Ryan decided to lighten the mood though, so he added with a smile, “Mind you, if you ask anyone who is in a bad mood because of some dumb luck that didn't go their way, they'll all say fate is stupid.” “Easy for you to say,” Keri replied unamused “You life hasn’t been one big mess after another.”
Ryan dropped some of his joking admitted and said, “You don't know that. For all you know I could have had a worse childhood than you.” Now instead of annoyance all Keri felt was confusion. So with no better time to ask she said, “What was is like to grow up here? It seems so peaceful.” Ryan looked like he didn't want to talk but he said, “It is, for the most part. Which is part of the problem. Life is too peaceful and I'm tired of that. I want to do something different.” “Ok,” Keri said, “ I get that but what's the catch? What's the one part of this place that's not peaceful?” “My house,” he said, “remember how I said that the people I live with usual go places where I can't or won't go?” “Yes,” Keri said. “The only place they really go to is a tiny bar and when they come back...” Ryan stopped for a moment and appeared to be thinking. “Let's just say that they… are a little loopy.” He finished with a grin. “Wait,” Keri, said, “Question. Whom do you live with?” Ryan answered with a shrug, “An older cousin. Nice guy, most of the time.” “OK. One last question, then we can go outside. How come you always look like you don't care whenever you reflect back on unhappy memories,” Keri asked. His way of not caring about not so great moments in his life was not exactly concerning, but it still was nagging at her. However, Ryan had a view on the matter that Keri had never really thought about before, “Getting upset over thing you can't change won't help a bit. So… I just let it go and laugh at it.” “You know, that actually makes sense,” Keri said. Ryan looked at her and grinned saying, “You do realize that half the things we've said would make absolutely no sense to half the people you know. Now, are we going to go outside or what?”
Keri and Ryan still had a lot to talk about but the headed outside and towards the spring. The moon was high in the sky and there was a cool summer breeze blowing through the air. The trees surrounding the clearing stood tall and sturdy, never letting the wind shake their ancient trunks. Looking at them one would think that they were like people almost, people who stood proud and unwavering. Once the two reached the spring Keri decided to take off her boots and stick her feat in the water. She took of the first one and was halfway through taking her other shoe off when Ryan said, “Your feet stink.” Keri stopped what she was doing and stared at him for a moment, then said sarcastically, “Yah, because your feet smell like roses.” “Hey,” he said, “It’s the hard, cold truth. Your feet smell like… feet, and mine don't.” “That is a half truth and you know it,” Keri said and then added, “I bet that everyone in will wake up and wonder why the air stinks.” “You may be right, or you may be horribly mistaken. I'm sure the smell of your feet would wilt all the grass within two miles of here if grass could smell,” Ryan said. Keri resorted to her last idea and stuck out her tongue. Ryan of course, being Ryan, stuck his right back out at her and then said, “So as to keep the peace, how about you just put your shoes back on and we never speak of this again. “Agreed,” Keri said, “as long as you keep your shoes on.” Ryan looked at her and said, “Aaahhh! You’re breaking the peace!” As a penalty he reached down into the water and splashed some onto Keri. The water was cold so Keri returned fire and said loudly, “now who's not keeping the peace!”
The one little splash turned into a water war and after twenty minutes both Keri and Ryan were worn out. “I'm soaked,” Keri said looking down at her damp clothing. “If you're soaked, then what am I,” asked Ryan who was dripping spring water everywhere, for a good reason, he had tripped over a rock and fallen into neck deep water. “Wet,” was all Keri said. Ryan sat down on the grass and Keri decided to as well. Nobody said anything for a while, but eventually Ryan said, “On the bright side, it's summer and there's a breeze. We’ll dry out eventually.” “Yah, I'm already part way dry, and you've stopped dripping,” Keri replied. However, Ryan wasn't nearly as dry as Keri, “I might have stopped dripping, but I'm still soaked.” To prove this, he grabbed the bottom of his shirt and twisted it so some of the extra water came out. “Hey, I regret nothing,” Keri said which caused Ryan to laugh.
After a while Ryan gave up on the idea of air drying and decided to just change clothes saying, “I know you'll dry off in about ten more minutes but it's going to take me twenty to thirty and I just don't feel like waiting that long.” “Go ahead,” Keri said, “but don't take an hour.” Ryan answered sarcastically, “are you going to die if boredom?” Keri rolled her eyes but had no comment. After that exchange Ryan walked back over to the house and went inside. Keri finally had some alone time to process what was happening. After about a night and a half Keri now had found a people that nobody had heard from in over six centuries, found out that she was most likely born in this town or was at least from it, learned a whole bunch of new things that would make absolutely no sense anyone who had never passed the tree gate, and made a new friend who knew more about her than she knew about herself. This place is strange, but, a good strange.
After a few minutes, Ryan came back outside looking almost exactly the same as he did before he went inside. Keri raised an eyebrow, “did you even change?” “Ummm… yes,” he said. “Sorry, but you look exactly the same,” she said in return. Ryan shrugged his shoulders and said, “The colors are similar but that's it. Anyways, it's not like I changed my face.” Keri said nothing, but she did take off her boots again just to see if Ryan would do anything. He did, by taking off his boots as well. To Keri, the grass felt good against her feet, which were still a bit sore from running, and there was a soft breeze that caused her hair to blow around. It was, as Ryan said, a peaceful place.
Suddenly, as if on cue after Keri thought that, there was a loud voice that said, “You kids shouldn't be here.” The two immediately swung around and saw a man standing in front of them. Keri looked surprised and concerned while Ryan just looked like he wanted to shrink to the size of a blade of grass and disappear. The man said, “Ryan, you know you aren’t supposed to be out here.” Ryan didn’t say anything. “Aren’t you going to say something,” the man asked, and then he noticed Keri, “and who’s that?” Ryan, who still looked uncomfortable, said, “A friend.” “Ok…” the man said, “but that's not why I'm here. There is someone at home who's looking for you so go home and talk to them.” Suddenly it clicked. This was Ryan’s older cousin, but why was he so uncomfortable? “Fine,” Ryan said, “but can Keri come to?” The man agreed. Ryan started to walk back towards Realta and Keri followed. However, for some unknown reason, Ryan’s cousin did not see come as well.
As soon as they were out of earshot Keri asked, “Was that your cousin?” “Yes,” he said. “So why were you so unhappy to see him,” she questioned. “It's not that I don’t like to see him,” Ryan said, “It’s the fact that he knew exactly where to find me. Plus… the last time anybody came to talk to me was when I was 6 years old, after I snowball at a very annoying old lady, so I don’t know why anybody would come asking for me.” Keri thought for a moment and then put on a smile and said, “Be happy people don’t treat you like dirt instead of just ignoring you. Believe me, I speak from experience. Besides, I’m still here.” Ryan smiled too and then said, “That’s right, being with another person is better than being alone. Believe ME, I speak from experience.” Then they both laughed. By that time they had passed through the grassy field filled with silver lilies, they and had made it to the edge of town.
From here Keri followed Ryan through the maze of streets. Keri thought that the town was like a river because the people seemed to know exactly where they wanted to go and every person was following a slightly different course that the person behind or in front of them. Keri followed Ryan into the center of the city, which was where Keri had sat on her bench by the fountain the previous evening. From there Ryan turned left and then took a right. After that, Keri stopped keeping track because she couldn’t remember whether the third turn was to the left or to the right.
After what felt like a few minutes, Ryan finally stopped in the middle of an empty street. The street, like all the others in the town, was made from thousands of small flat stones around the size of Keri’s first. Beyond the street was a grassy area with a small stone house in the center of it. The house and land was contained by a stonewall that was around three feet high, which like the street, was made from small stones. The only difference was that the stones that made up the street were flat, but the stones that made up the wall looked like they were small misshaped blocks. There was a gap in the middle of the wall, and in that gap a small dirt path originated that led up to a door, that opened into the house.
Ryan walked down the street and then up to the fence where he stopped. After looking around for a moment he crouched down and pulled one of the stones out from the wall and pulled a key out of the empty space. “Why would you need a key,” Keri asked. “My cousin lost the key other and he knew that I had hidden one somewhere because I could always get into the house, even when he didn’t want me to come in,” he said while he returned the stone to its home in the wall. Ryan’s answer had made no sense to Keri but she didn’t say anything. After standing back up Ryan led the way through the gate and then up the dirt path until they came up to the door. He opened the door and stuck his head through the doorway and said loudly, “Anybody in here?” there was a pause and then they heard someone say, “Yes.” Ryan rolled his eyes and said, “Not you Deaglan, but do you know if there is anyone here who stopped by to talk to me.” “I don’t know,” Deaglan, said in an annoyed tone, “I don’t live here!” Ryan rolled his eyes again and after pulling his head out of the doorway muttered under his breath “Actually you practically do live here because you go back to your own house only once every week for a few hours, and that's only to shower.” Keri decided not to say anything.
Ryan placed his spare key on a hook on the wall, shut the door, and then turned around to face Keri. “Lets check the back to see if anyone’s there,” he said while he started to walk to the left going parallel to the house. “Hey Ryan,” Keri asked, is there a reason you never say home when you refer to your house?” “It’s simple really… a home is a place where you feel happy and that you want to go back to a the end of each day, and this place is just not that. If somebody were to ask me where my home is, I would say that my home is the grey house outside of town that is falling apart at the seams, because I’m happy there.” “Well…” Keri said, “I would have to agree with you on that one.” Ryan made a face and shrugged. “ Come on, let's go check the back,” he said. So the two continued walking.
When they rounded the corner Keri could make out a large oak tree in the corner of the yard where two sides of the fence met. The trees limbs were so long that they went up and over the fence and into a grassy area beyond the wall. The grass the other side of the fence was tall and swayed in the breeze causing it to look like a river. Ryan turned another corner but even he jumped at the sight of the man standing there. He wore a black uniform that was splotched with some white stuff, that he had evidently spilled, and had a pale face, even for a Doilérie, with short, balding, black hair. Keri and Ryan stood speechless for a second simply staring at him in confusion. After a moment, Ryan whispered to Keri, “He looks like a cow.” Keri didn’t reply because she was to busy trying her best not to laugh. The man had heard them and turned. He stood there for a moment and then said looking at Ryan, “Your cousin sent you?” “Yes,” Ryan replied. “I have a message for you. “So you know what the message is?” “Of course,” the man answered looking a bit annoyed. “Wait, so is it an oral message or is it on a sheet of paper,” Ryan asked. “It’s an oral message but I have a copy of it on a sheet of paper,” the man said. “Why would you need to have it on a sheet of paper to,” Keri asked. The man seemed to get more annoyed with each question they asked, “Because you might want to hear it again later! So can I deliver the message or not!” “Go for it,” Ryan said. “Thank you,” the man said.
He stood there for a second and then suddenly looked the most annoyed he had yet saying, “You all made me forget it!” “Well then read it off the piece of paper,” Keri and Ryan said together loudly. “Ok” the man, said, “There is no need to get angry.” This time it was Keri’s turn to roll her eyes. The man seemed to skim over the page for a minute and then said, “I’m just going to summarize.” “Ok, but can you please start talking.” Ryan said.“ The man gave a little sniff and began, “In essence you are to meet someone under a certain tree somewhere outside town. You might want to read the letter for more specifics.” The man handed Ryan the paper. “Thank you, Ryan said but then added as the man started to walk away, “What happened to your uniform?” The man stiffened for a second, and then said in the same annoyed tone he had used the entire conversation, “If you have to know, when I left home this morning a my ex-wife dumped a large sum of old flour on me while I was leaving my home this morning.” After that, the man walked around the corner of the house and was gone. As soon as he was gone Keri and Ryan burst out laughing. They didn’t stop for a while and when they did they decided that they should read the letter. It said…
To whom it may concern, I do not know if you were aware of this or not, but I feel that it is necessary to tell you the reason you have received this letter. If you have, you are known to be the child or sibling to a person or persons in an elite group that had the job of keeping us, and our borders safe. Around thirteen years ago, that same group set out to challenge an enemy of ours that had resurfaced after hundreds of years; none of them returned. However, this is only part of the story. If you wish to hear the full story and the reason for your being contacted, meet me under the large oak tree about a two miles south of Asrose this upcoming noon. But before you make your decision you should know, that anyone in that group was not chosen for any reason. There are some things that not all people know about the Doilérie. Mason Pomerot
The two stood in silence for a time and then Ryan asked the question they both were thinking. “Are we going to do as the letter asks or are we going to ignore it and go back to whatever it is that we do?” Keri thought for a while. On the one hand, the letter had sparked an adventures curiosity that was not going to be quenched easily. But on the other hand, going back to the house and enjoying the feeling of having a friend was very inviting and it was something Keri never wanted to lose now that she had finally gotten a taste of it. Her mind was made up, she looked Ryan in they and said, “ The smart thing is to go back to the grey house and pretend this never happened. But the reality is that neither of us are really going to do the smart thing.” Ryan grinned saying, “ I knew you were going to say that! We still have twelve hours till we have to be under the willow.” “Don't forget,” Keri said, “we have to leave in eleven hours because we don't know how fast we are going to end up walking.” “Right,” Ryan said, “So… What are we going to do for eleven hours?
After reading the letter, Keri and Ran both agreed that if they wanted to meet this Mason Pomerot they would need to bed early. However, they still had six hours to kill. Keri suggested going back to the house by the spring to make sure everything was in order before they left. Ryan just shook his head and said, “No way! I'm showing you around the town! If you think you're just going to miss out on something like this you've got another thing coming. Plus you don't have any money, but I do, which means I can pick up some lunch while we're at it.” “Fine,” Keri said, “but we should go back to the house at around six so we can go to bed early. Mostly because I don't want to see what your like when you're grouchy.” And with that, Keri followed Ryan into the maze of streets that was the city.
Keri thought that the town looked big from the outside, but it was nothing compared to the inside. There must have been over a hundred people just in the market. Everywhere she looked, Keri saw new and interesting things such as starlight lights that were made from actual starlight. However, the light was contained in the center of a glass sphere that hovered wherever the owner placed it. When Keri inquired about this Ryan smiled and said “Yeah, people actually buy those. They might be a bit expensive, but they're pretty darn useful. You can use them for parties, homes, decoration, and even simple things like reading.” “Neat,” Keri said, “but how do they get the light from up there down into a glass sphere?” “No idea, but it's probably the same way they get dying stars to go into the same little balls,” he said. “No way,” Keri answered in disbelief and amazement. Ryan laughed and said, “Yes way. And if you don't believe me, just look over to your right at the stall that's selling those red, orange, yellow, white, and blue light ball… things.” “This place is crazy,” was all Keri could say.
The two wandered around for about three hours longer until they decided to find something to eat. “Let's try The Silver Tree Inn,” Ryan said. “Sure,” Keri said. Then she raised an eyebrow and said, “But wait… why would you need an inn if you all don’t get any visitors?” “There’s more than one town in Realta. There are actually three. Were in Asrose, the closest one to the gate. The other two are Trence and Clenti. Treance is the closest to here and it's about three hours southeast of here. Clenti is the farthest, and is around 4 hours south of here.” Keri shook her head and said, “This is officially the craziest day of my life. But at this rate it could be any day after this. But for now… it still holds the record for most craziness in one day,” “That’s great, but can we please continue heading towards The Silver Tree,” said Ryan.
For the next five minutes, Keri tried to sort out all the new information that she had just acquired. Then, thankfully, Ryan turned another corner and Keri could see a large three-story building with a small sign that said, The Silver Tree Inn Excellent service for over fifty years. As they walked in through the open door Keri asked, “Is it unusual for businesses to be around fifty years old?” “Nope,” he said, “The people in Realta don’t usually think of new ideas, with the exception of those star lights. It's probably because there aren’t any new and different people to suggest new ideas.” Keri nodded her head in agreement.
After that Ryan walked up to the counter and started talking to the man behind it. After a few seconds the man walked away through a doorway and Ryan stood waiting for him. Keri took her chance to look around. The inn’s walls and floor were wood despite the fact that the outside of the structure was made of stone. There were little starlight balls floating around the room giving the impression of many windows. In reality there were only three windows, each with a table and chairs in front of it. A twisting staircase led to the level above and a few people were going up and down. Keri turned around and immediately saw the reason behind the name of the place. In the center of the room there was a massive tree that seemed to bloom silver flowers. Why so much silver in this place? Keri wondered. People were using the tree’s sweeping branches as seats and benches while eating. There was a large opening in the ceiling where the tree went straight through to the third story, which had several large windows to let in light. The tree looked happy where it was. It certainly was getting enough light, with the starlight balls and the upper story windows.
At that point, Ryan came back. He handed her something wrapped in paper. “It’s a sandwich, they’re recommended.” “Thanks,” she said, “Now what?” “Now we can go do what you wanted and go to the house. Were probably going to be up all throughout the day so we’d better get an early start to bed,” said Ryan. “OK,” Keri answered. Without anything else that they could think of to do, Keri and Ryan began to head back to the grey house. On the way there, Keri saw tons of unusual and amazing things that could, if put together, fill up multiple books. She also paused momentarily to get one last look at the starling balls when the passed the stand that sold them.
Before they knew it, the two were outside the limits of Asrose. Keri stopped to take in the natural landscape. The stars shine brighter here than everywhere else and the moon was still full. Now remembering that the moon had been full for a long time she asked Ryan about it. “Natural phenomenon. It happens sometimes,” he answered simply. Keri suddenly got an idea. If they tried to sleep right now, they'd be up till it was time to leave to meet Pomerot. So she made s quick plan. “Hey Ryan,” she said, “Race you back.” He grinned and said, “You're on.” Just like that, they were off, Keri was ahead at first but when she was about half way there, Ryan passed her. When she stopped at the steps that led up to the creaky porch, Ryan was waiting for her. “I didn't know you could run fast,” Keri said. “That's what everyone says,” he answered. Keri’s next question was, “How far is it from here to the place we started?” “I don't exactly know,” he answered, “but I'd guess that it's around 100 to 200 meters.” “The town looks farther than that from here.” “It probably is… After all, the ground is rather uneven and there are a few small hills that add a few extra meters. Not to mention that we were closer to the house than to Asrose,” answered Ryan.
The two stood there for a little while and then went inside after agreeing to go to sleep early. They went upstairs and Ryan headed to the last room which he liked best of all while Keri decided to find a different room because she was used to being by herself. She chose the blue room that had a bed in it already. She set her stuff down in a corner; she had gotten it from the other room before coming into the current one. Then, without anything else to do, she lay down on the bed and tried to fall asleep. Unfortunately for her, falling asleep on command is not as easy as everyone thinks.
Dawn came and then soon the sun was almost at its highest point. Keri woke up. The room was bright and the curtains were open. She knew that if the curtains were open she would wake up because it’s hard to sleep when the room you're in is too bright.
Keri got out of bed and closed the curtains. The sun was hot and it was summer, not a good combination. After drinking a bit of water, she slipped her boots on and headed down the hall to see if Ryan was up yet. When she got there she knocked on the door and said, “Are you up yet? Because if your not, get up.” “Relax,” he answered, “I’m up! I’ll be out in a sec.”
After a few minutes, the two of them were standing outside on the porch. After a moment, they began to walk towards Asrose. Once they were in the center of town near the plaza, Ryan began to head north. Soon they were out of the city and on a grassy field. From there they could just make out a small looking tree, just as the letter said. They set off. The day was cool and there was a slight breeze. It felt good to Keri. Time seemed to fly, and just as quick as it took to get to the plaza, they were standing a few feet away from the tree.
There were some other people near the tree’s sweeping branches. As they approached they noticed a man standing slightly away from the rest of the people. He looked to be in his mid forties and had dark hair with small strands that had turned grey. His eyes were grey like fog and he seemed to be waiting for something. When Keri and Ryan walked up to the meeting point, they saw that the other people were roughly their age there were five people including the older man. Most of them had the same dark hair and grey or blue eyes, but there were two people with auburn hair and amber eyes.
When the man noticed Keri and Ryan he looked up and then began acting the same way as before. The two approached the tree and the people underneath. Once they were under its sweeping branches, one of the dark haired boys looked up and asked the question that it was obvious nobody knew the answer to. “Do you know why we've been contacted?” “No,” Keri and Ryan both answered simultaneously. This time it was an auburn haired girl that answered, “We don't know either. We were hoping you knew why we got those letters.” “We don't know,” answered Keri. “That's why we came here,” Ryan added.
After what felt like an age and the sun was beginning its descent into the horizon, one last person came. He was tall and had the usual dark hair and pale skin that the Doilérie all had. When that older man saw him coming he stopped what he was doing and showed a sign of relaxation. When the person came under the tree the older man approached. There was an air of importance in the way that he walked as though he believed that whatever he had to say was more important to everyone around them than anything else at the moment. He said, “ Everyone sit down in a circle,” So everyone sat down.
“Now that we're all here,” he continued, “ I think it's best that we introduce ourselves. I am Mason Pomerot, the sender of the letters I'm assuming you all read. Any otherwise you wouldn't be here. Let's start with you, “he said turning to the boy next to him. The boy seemed to not want to be the first person to give an introduction but he said, “My name is Cillian, I am seventeen years old, and I am from Trence.” The person next to him then began. She had black hair and blue eyes and like Cillian, she seemed wary of telling everyone about herself. “My name is Myra, I am also seventeen, and I am from Asrose.” After Myra, there was the auburn haired girl who stood out from among the rest. She said, “I'm Ruari, I am sixteen years old but will be seventeen in a month, and I am from Trence.” Then the boy next to her, who also had auburn hair, began,” I'm Arden, I'm sixteen years old, but I will be seventeen in a month as well, and I am also from Trence.” I'm Seamus,” said another boy with black hair and grey eyes, “I'm from Clenti and I am eighteen.” “Thank you,” said Pomerot, “Now last but not least, what is your name,” he said while gesturing to another girl with black hair and grey eyes. “I'm Cara, I'm eighteen, and I'm from Clenti as well.” “Do you know each other,” Ruari asked. “No,” answered Cara, “We might live in the same town but because it's so big nobody knows everyone.” Ruari nodded in understanding.
There was silence for a second, and then Mason Pomerot began talking, “Now that introductions have been made, I think it's in order for me to tell you why you’re here.” Everyone immediately became more attentive and all eyes were on Pomerot. He continued, “You’re here, because I asked you to come.” “We know that,” said Arden. “I wasn't finished,” Pomerot answered. “Ok then,” Arden said, “please continue.” “Before we all fall asleep,” Ruari added in a slightly annoyed tone. Mason Pomerot seemed unfazed. “I can not say why you have been contacted aloud because someone might be listening, but I have written it down on a sheet of paper that you can read.” “More letters,” said Ryan in an exasperated tone. “Yes, more letters, but you have to read it if you want to know the information you are seeking,” Pomerot answered. “But you are the one who was seeking us to tell us the information,” Ryan contorted. Pomerot said nothing, but all around the circle suppressed laughter could be heard from the others. Pomerot pulled a sheet of paper out from a pocket and placed it into the center of the circle. Some people ended up reading it upside down, but the point could not have been clearer. It said…
What I am going to tell you is to be kept strictly to yourselves. You may not tell even the most trusted of people. You are here today because thirteen years ago one of your family members disappeared and was declared dead, I am going to tell you why they disappeared. Roughly 3,000 years ago, a force stronger than any other this world has ever seen. None of the other four kingdoms came to our aid when Olvon began their attacks on us. With difficulty our people battled it for as long as they could, but after we gained knowledge of the leader of the people, we were forced to take higher risks. Their leader was a demon, guised in the form of a man called Nizen. Through the people of Olvon, Nizen began to attack our borders relentlessly, so, we sent out The Cosantóirí, which translates to “The Protectors.” You may recall that I previously said that your family members were chosen for a reason. They were chosen because they were gifted with the same power as Nizen, the power to manipulate matter to their will. There was only one catch. Although they had full control over matter, they could only use their gifts at night, when they were at their strongest. The last group that was trained, when given the option, agreed to leave their homes in the hopes of going to Ovlon and gathering information to help lead an attack on Nizen. There was no guarantee that they would come home, so they entrusted their pendants to their families in the hopes that they would carry out what was already started. The pendants were This ability is hereditary, which means that if you wish me to train you to use your gift, I can. Your ancestors had this same choice, and they have been protecting you and your people for as long as there has been a threat to this race. If you chose to, you can go back to your everyday lives and forget what happened here forever. The choice is yours, but I warn you, once you agree to this, there is no turning back. Mason Pomerot After everyone had finished reading the letter, they began to look around at each other as if trying to see what was going through their heads. Trying to see if they were going to take up the offer, or if they were going to walk away. After a moment Rurari broke the silence by saying, "Mr. Pomerot sir, do you sign everything you write?" Everyone looked up at her and Pomerot said nothing. Soon the group under the tree was filled with silence again. Pomerot broke the silence after a while and said, “The young lady whose name began with a K. I don’t believe that I sent you a letter.” At this, everyone looked up and at Keri. “You didn’t,” Keri answered. “But through a long process of elimination that would take forever and a day to explain, we found that it would be very hard to prove that her parents weren’t part of the lost team,” Ryan continued. “Ok then,” said Pomerot, “but do you have any proof?” “Sort of,” Keri answered, “I have the pendant.” “I think that’s sufficient proof,” said Cara. “I second that,” added Myra. “I agree,” said Ruari and Arden together. “Same,” said Cillian and Seamus. “That’s enough,” said Pomerot, “Are you the closest living relative of your parents?” “Unless I have an uncle or some long lost sibling that I never knew about, yes I am their closest living relative,” Keri said in complete honesty.
“As much as I would like to say that the pendant is full proof, I can’t,” said Pomerot. “Why not,” asked Keri who was starting to get the slightest bit defensive. “Quite simply, because a pendant could be found or stolen by anyone. The pendant counts for something, but not everything,” Pomerot countered. “Then tell me if this does,” Keri answered. She was starting to get angry and her tone was starting to show that, “Where I grew up, I was the only person who looked the way I did. I was the only person in the entire place who enjoyed being out underneath the stars. Where I grew up I didn’t fit in. Where I grew up people couldn’t stand my presence because I was different and because I wasn’t one of them! I was found at the age of two, just beyond the tree line of a forest, by myself, with nothing that showed who I was or where I came from besides a metal pendant in my pocket and my name written on a piece of paper stuffed in that same pocket! So I don’t see how you could possibly expect me to be able to prove where I came from! All I know is that this is the only place I have ever felt like I belong and the only place where I have ever had a friend!” Keri poured out years of rage and anger into those words. She didn’t care if Pomerot didn’t believe her. This was the closest place Keri could call a home. And once again, she was told she shouldn't call it home because of something she couldn’t control.
As soon as she finished Keri got up and left the circle of people, and walked out from underneath the tree shoving branches out of her way as she did. Keri sat down a few yards away with her knees to her chin and her arms wrapped around her knees. She hadn’t meant to say the last part about her life in Henna or how she had gotten there. In her eyes, it was something people didn’t need to know about. Everyone has a secret they want to keep more than anything in the world. Most people took those secrets to their graves, although some others only tell a few trusted people. The people Keri just told were neither trusted nor few.
Keri sat under outside the tree for a few about ten minutes to calm herself down. Once she was ready, Keri walked back underneath the tree and when the group saw her, they all looked up. Pomerot didn’t wait or her to sit down. Instead, he said, “Are you back for good now?” “Yes,” Keri answered, not showing a hint of emotion. “Good,” He replied, “Now, as I was about to say to you before you went and stormed off, on the compasses, there is a back door to a small locket like area that the owners of the pendants sometimes use. If that was one of your parents compass’s, than we might be able to find some proof of that inside. So if I may see yours?” Pomerot stretched out his hand palm up for Keri to place her pendent on. Keri reached up and grabbed the chain, and then pulled it from over her head. She took one last look at it and then handed it over to Pomerot. Pomerot took his other hand and grabbed the pendant by the chain. He stared intently at it for a moment, and then he some way or another pulled a small door open that Keri never knew existed. The entire back opened up on a hinge and then out fell a small folded piece of paper. No one said anything. Pomerot picked it up off the ground and then unfolded it. No one could see what was on the piece of paper and Keri could tell that everyone wanted to know. Ruari was trying to stay seated and look over the top, but it was to no avail. Cara and Cillian began to lean over to see what was on the paper but before they could see, Pomerot looked up at them and they immediately leaned the other way. Pomerot folded up the paper, placed it back into the space where it came from, and shut the tiny door. There was a small “Click,” and then silence for what felt like the millionth time. Pomerot looked Keri straight in the eye and said, “Come with me.”
Keri got up and left the group. She followed Pomerot out from under the branches and then turned to her. He looked at her as if studying her face and then said, “You are one of us. I am sorry for doubting you, but you must understand that no outsiders can find out about what is happening and about what our people can do.” “I understand, you were just doing your job, whatever that is,” Keri replied. Pomerot handed her back her pendant and said nothing, but gestured to her to lead the way back under the canopy of branches. Keri began to walk towards the tree but then stopped short, turned back to Pomerot and said, “What was in my pendant?” “All in good time,” Pomerot answered.
When Keri reached the group, Ryan quickly jumped up and asked, “Are you or are you not? Yes or no?” Keri looked at him for a second and said, “Yes.” Ryan stared at her for a moment and then said, “Yes?” Then he jumped up, turned in mid air to face everyone else, landed, then shouted, “Yes! I knew it!” Keri and a few other people began to laugh while others just smiled while watching Ryan. Ryan’s reactions were, in Keri’s opinion, better than any performance. “Calm yourself young man. We don’t want the rest of Realta to know what is happening here,” came Pomerot’s voice from amidst the other voices of the group conversing with each other. “Ok,” said Ryan, who immediately sat down. The rest of the group looked back to Pomerot, ceasing their other individual conversations. “You still have not answered the most important question that demands an answer, are you going to follow in your relatives’ footsteps and become a part of a team, or are you going to walk away from this forever. I need an answer. You have one hour.” “One Hour,” said Cillian, “This is possibly the most important decision that we will ever make in our entire lives and you want us to make it in an hour!” Pomerot looked at Cillian and then said, “If you accept my offer, you will have to make far harder decisions in a much shorter time span than this. I am being generous. If you were a group of adults who were fully trained and qualified for this mission I would have given them twenty minutes.” “That reminds me,” said Seamus, “Why have you chosen us to go on this, ‘mission’ when half of us aren’t going to be adults for at least two years. Only Cara and I are, technically speaking, adults. She and I aren’t seen as adults though.”
Pomerot nodded as if he was seeing this as if he saw Seamus’ question as a good question, then he answered, “Believe me. No one else here wishes that you were adults more than me. I have asked you to come because, as I said before, I believe that you are the best-qualified people for the job because you have the potential to manipulate chaos energy and dark matter. Now I am going to leave you. Make your decisions and don’t second guess yourselves.” At that, Pomerot got up and walked out from under the shade of the tree and kept walking until he was gone. As soon as Pomerot was just a dot in the distance, everyone started to consult one another. Keri, Ryan, and Cillian began talking to each other while Seamus and Cara began a conversation with Ruari and Arden. To anyone who w0uld have attempted to listen in, all they would hear was loud voices that were inaudible from one another.
One hour later, Pomerot came back, and he wasn’t alone. Perched on his shoulder, there was a large bird. Its brown feathers were speckled with white and his underside was also white. His beak and talons were grey. Unlike most animals, when Keri looked into its eyes she saw intelligence. Like it knew that it had a purpose. Pomerot stopped and the bird flew off him and onto one of the tree’s roots. Pomerot looked at the other’s faces and noticed that theirs, like his, were devoid of emotion. “Have you made up your minds,” Pomerot asked. “Yes,” answered Myra. “Well… Are you going to leave me guessing all day,” asked Pomerot. Everyone glanced around, seeing who was going to say something. Eventually Seamus took a deep breath and said, “We all have decided to…” He paused for a moment, “We all accept.”
“You all accept,” Pomerot gave in a questioning tone. “Yes,” sad Cillian. “All of you are up for whatever is ahead of you? Not one of you wants to leave?” “Guess you did a better job of convincing us than you thought,” Ruari said. Pomerot looked her in the eye but said nothing. “You all have now made a contract, though it is not physical, and I expect you to keep it,” Pomerot told the group, but then turned away from them as if he was thinking. After a few seconds he turned back to the group and said, “I am going to take you to what will now be your home base. No one is to know where it is. Go back to your home's; gather your possessions, you are moving out of your homes and into our base. Meet me back here in three days time. Understood?” “Wait a minute,” Ryan said, “You can’t just expect us to pick up ourselves and leave our parents and families.” “You all accepted my offer did you not,” Pomerot retorted, “In doing so you have chosen to place your trust in me and therefore, in my methods.” “Well if we had known that choosing adventure over daily life meant leaving our current lives we would have never accepted!” Shouted Arden. “You have made a deal,” Pomerot said, “Now keep it.” Arden glared at Pomerot in disbelief and anger, but did not answer. Pomerot looked around at everyone and said, “I will see you in three days.” Then, turning on the spot, he left the group.
“He’ll see us in three days if we decide to show up,” grumbled Ruari. Ryan looked over at Keri and said, “I guess we should head back home.” Keri nodded in agreement. The two said goodbye to their new comrades, and then walked in the direction of Asrose. Keri and Ryan walked in silence, pondering over the recent events of that day. Keri was not concerned about going to live at Pomerot’s base. She had nothing to leave behind. No, it was Ryan she was more worried about. Even if he did not like his home, it didn’t make it any easier to leave his entire life behind.
After what felt like a lifetime, they spotted Asrose, and then entered the city. Keri followed Ryan, seeing as she had no idea where she was going. She followed him down different twisting and turning roads that were now deserted seeing as the sun was just starting to go down. After a while Keri began to notice familiar buildings, but they weren’t the buildings they had passed by on the way from the grey house. They were the ones that they passed on the way to Ryan’s house.
In a few minutes they were standing outside Ryan’s cousin’s house. The door was unlocked, either Ryan’s cousin hadn’t bothered to lock the door, or he hadn’t seen the key yet. Ryan made a motion to be quiet, and then quietly opened the door and slipped inside. Keri followed. Ryan was already looking in small rooms around the house and then walked back to her and said in a normal voice, “Nobody is here. They’re probably at the pub or something stupid like that.” Keri noticed he did not sound surprised at this, he actually just seemed annoyed. He didn’t bother to hide it either, his body language gave it all away and it was in his voice.
Ryan lead the way to a room on their left, and opened the door. It was a small bedroom with a bed in the corner and clothes strewn all over the floor. “Sorry, it’s a mess in here. Nobody cares what my room looks like.” Keri nodded, but didn’t say anything. Ryan began picking up the clothes and throwing them onto the bed. After everything was on the bed, he laid flat on the floor and reached under the bed. A few seconds of groping around later, he sat up and pulled a worn bag up with him. It was nothing impressive, and it had a small hole in it. That didn’t stop Ryan though; he began piling clothes inside it.
It took Keri a minute to figure out what he was doing, but then it hit her. “You are just going to leave this place? No second thoughts?” “You forgot no regrets,” he answered. Keri stared at him, but he just kept going. “Why would you leave the place that you have lived in your entire life?” Ryan stopped what he was doing, slowly looked at her, and then said, “What’s left here, a dunk cousin and sad reminders. I’m doing what you did. I have been given a chance at a new start. Would you pass that up?” Keri was silent again, and then she asked quietly, “I thought you didn’t miss your parents.” Ryan looked her in the eye, and he looked, for the first time ever, sad. “I lied. I don’t blame them for dying, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t miss them.” Keri saw the sincerity in his eyes, and out of nowhere, walked over and gave him a hug. “Thanks,” he muttered. They broke apart and Keri said, “I just don’t want you to do something that you’ll regret in the future.” Ryan smiled, and then was back to his old self. “So, are you going to stand there or are you going to help me?” Keri smiled and shook her head in amusement.” “I’ll take that as a no,” he said.
As soon as Ryan had said that, he continued packing up his stuff. He wasn’t that neat. Nothing was folded up before going into the bag, and Keri was serine that he could not possibly fit the pile of stuff on his bed into the one small bag. Somehow, he did it. It took a lot of squashing and strange noises, but he did it, and then some more. After the clothes, he managed to fit two books, a small-framed picture, and an extra pair of shoes, and a bag of coins. As for the coins, Ryan justified it by saying, “You never know.” After securing the pack, Ryan threw it over his shoulder, and just as he was walking out the door, he took a quick look around the room. He turned and walked out of the room. As soon as Ryan hadn’t made it five feet when he stopped dead, cursed, dropped his pack, and then sprinted back into his room. He came back out carrying an old book that was held together with leather. Keri raised and eyebrow, Ryan just grinned patting the book. Keri picked up his pack and handed it to him saying, “Is there anything else you have forgotten?” Ryan laughed and said, “Nothing that I can remember.”
The two headed out the door and back towards the grey house. Once they got there, Keri and Ryan immediately went into the room upstairs and fell asleep within thirty seconds of sitting down. The time they had until they had to go and see Pomerot went quickly. The first night went by fast, and so did the second. The third night came, and then the dawn of the third day came. Keri and Ryan gathered their stuff, for Keri this wasn’t hard because she had left almost everything in her home in the woods.
The walk to the tree didn’t seem to take as long as it did the first time, mostly because Keri and Ryan talked the whole time. Once they got there they saw that Pomerot was already there, as well as Cillian and Myra. Keri noticed that both of them had a form of bag with them that presumably held the possessions they would be taking with them. After a hour and a half, everyone but Arden and Ruari had arrived at the designated meeting place. “I hope nothing happened to them,” Cara said quietly. Pomerot shook his head, “They are not late yet.” As soon as the words had left his mouth, the two of them were in view and Cillian noticed something odd. From a distance, it looked like Arden was carrying a large bowl of water. When Ruari and Arden reached the tree, everyone got up to look at what Arden had brought. Cillian was right, it was a bowl of water, but it had three bright orange fish inside. The fish were small with orange bodies speckled with red. Their fins were long and the tail fin was curved in a crescent shape. The fins started out as orange, but quickly changed to a red stripe, and then ended with a white stripe. The fish, oddly enough though, had blue eyes. All eyes looked up from the fish to Arden. Arden just shrugged and said, “You have your friends, I have my fish.” Everyone then turned to Ruari in time to see her roll her eyes. She said, “A couple of months ago we saw them in a stream outside of Trence and he decided that he had to catch them.” Arden looked at his sister and said, “You can say what you want Ruari, but I keep them because they are like little friends that you can carry around with you everywhere. Plus, they glow in the dark.” After Arden said this, everyone’s gaze turned back to the little fish swimming happily inside their bowl. Ruari was about to retort, but thankfully, Pomerot chose that time to walk up to the group.
He only stopped momentarily to look at Arden’s fish, but then he addressed everyone. “I am glad that everyone is here. I will make this brief. Our headquarters is in a remote area of Realta that is distant from the three cities of Asrose, Clenti, and Trence. It is about three hours southwest of here.” Everyone looked at each other and then Cillian said, “Hope you’re wearing your walking shoes.” Someone snorted and then Pomerot added to Cillian’s statement, “I believe what Cillian meant was, I hope you aren’t to fond of your socks.” Keri and Ryan looked up at Pomerot in curiosity, but Pomerot didn’t elaborate.
After an hour, Pomerot’s statement became the hard cold reality. They had walked, a lot, and not just over land. No, they had to walk through an icy cold stream in order to get to their destination. Everyone’s socks were soaked, feet tired, and they still had another two hours to go. Everyone was thinking the same thought, which was probably the reason everyone ended up sharing his or her backstory.
Everything started when Cara, who was walking near Ruari and Arden, asked Arden, “What made you come. I remember you weren’t that exited about leaving your home.” He didn’t say anything at first, probably because he was watching his fish to make sure nothing happened to them, but he answered, “I love my dad and I love my home, and I sometimes love Ruari,” Ruari stopped and gave him a look that clearly stated that the feeling of sometimes was mutual “But nothing happens in Trence and I feel like I owe it to my mom to finish what she started,” Arden finished. Cara nodded. “I know how you feel. I love my mom, and even though my sister and I don’t get along as well as hopped, I still didn’t want to leave them. But, I told myself that I had to, I’m getting older and I can’t stay at home forever. Plus, this was an opportunity to make something out of myself.” Arden nodded, and then everything was silent again. Twenty minutes later, still nobody had said anything, so Myra took things into her own hands, and said, “Ok, I know that we can do better than this.” Then glancing around at everyone, sighed and said, “let's play a game, I point at you and ask the first question that pops into my head and you have to answer it.” This seemed to get everyone’s attention.”
Myra then suddenly turned, pointed a finger at Ryan and said, “Favorite color.” Ryan looked startled and jumped slightly, but answered, “Ink blue.” Then Myra turned on Seamus and said, “What is the first thing you did this morning.” Seamus’ eyes widened and looked surprised, yet he still answered, “I ate breakfast.” Cillian added, “Same.” “That’s very… Normal,” Myra said. “I guess that we are normal people,” Seamus said. “Not normal enough to get out of this,” Ruari scoffed. “Yes, who we said we were normal people, because whoever said it is going to end up getting punched,” Keri added. Myra laughed and it sounded good in the current situation. Cillian nodded and then said, “We may not be normal, but that doesn’t mean that we have not grown up in similar situations. I am willing to bet that everyone has lost someone close to them because of this stupid quest or whatever it is.” Keri rolled her eyes and said, “Guess you all know my stupid backstory because of me and my big mouth.” “I already knew it,” Ryan said. Keri looked at him and said exasperatedly, “I know that you know.” “I know you know that I know,” Ryan retorted, “But do you know that you know that I know that you know that I know” Keri was about to answer but Seamus began laughing. Laughing is like a contagious disease, so it spread until everyone but Pomerot was laughing. Not that this was unexpected from a man who had not smiled once in the time that everyone had known him (less than a week). As soon as the laughter died down, Arden said, “Well, that is a new one… how far would you have gotten if we had not interrupted?” “I don’t know,” Ryan answered, “but I know that i would have gotten farther than Keri!” “Hey!” Keri said. She knew that he was joking which inclined her to play the part of the semi annoyed friend.
After the tension was broken, everyone got along much better and everyone became more open about their pasts than before. Mayra explained how she had grown up with only her aunt and uncle who were like parents to her, and that she enjoyed singing more than anyone could imagine. At this, Ruari scoffed because she could not imagine bold, sarcastic, Mayra to be the kind of person who would perform for almost anyone. When Ruari said this, Mayra returned fire when she asked Ruari what her hobbies were and if they matched her personality. Ruari gave a playful smug smile and said, “I have practiced archery since the age of six.” Mayra was not about to give up, so she said in a sarcastic voice, “Oh, I would never suspect that hyper, unladylike Ruari would chose a sport so favored by the nobles of other realms.” Ruari stopped mid pace to stare at Mayra. Myra began to roar with laughter as Ruari countered, “I accept that I am a little ball of hyperactive energy, or so says my father, and that I am extraordinarily unladylike, but I most certainly am not anything like a snobbish royal princess who runs around in her long dresses flaunting anything she can!” WIth this Arden began to join the laughter and said to his sister, “Aw come on! She had you spot on!” “Says the one who is carrying his pet fish around with him,” countered his twin. Arden was in the process of returning Ruari’s taunt when Seamus cut in, “What are your fish’s names?” Arden looked surprised, but said, “Alroy, Shea, and Torin. But I just call them the fish.” “What they are is a bunch of tiny underwater birds,” Ruari said in an annoyed tone. “Whatever,” Arden said, “How much farther do we have till we reach this super secret hideaway that we are all going to end up being stuck in?” “Not far, just a quarter mile up the hill and we will be able to see it,” Pomerot answered. Keri wondered for a second if she had imagined it or not, did Pomerot sound… excited? Twenty minutes after Pomerot said they would be able to see the hideout, they reached the top of what had at first looked like a hill. The hill itself was rather high and the grass growing on it was a light shade of green. There was a tree line that completely surrounded the area so that it was invisible to any passerby, but the tree line joined a much thicker area of trees that became the forest surrounding Realta. On top of the hill, which was both very large and very flat, there were several buildings made from stone with wood roofs. The majority of the buildings were small, square, two story buildings with a few windows and shutters. There were also three larger buildings. The closest one was rectangular in shape, with one story and a large wooden door. The other two were similar in fashion, but they weren't as large.
The arrangement of the buildings was not unusual, the small, two story ones were built so that they looked out on a large tree that had a circular bench around it. The bench was made of some type of dark metal that shined in the evening sun. The larger buildings were farther away from the group, and faced the forest. For once, nobody had any words to convey what was going on inside their minds.
Pomerot looked at each of his new trainees, and when nobody looked back at him, he said, “Does nobody have any thoughts? Or are you empty headed?” These words seemed to break the trance that everyone was in. As soon as Pomerot’s words registered to the group, Ruari said, “If we were empty headed than you wouldn't have dragged us here to learn whatever it is you are going to teach us.” Pomerot slowly turned to look at her, “Remara of Trence, there are many things that you will be learning from me. But first and foremost, you will be learning how to speak to others in a polite fashion.” Everyone turned and stared at Ruari as she glared back at Pomerot. “Uhh…” Arden said, “If you just met us, than how do you know Ruari’s full name.” Pomerot changed his gaze to Arden, “I did not know it until a little while ago. I can read you know, and you should know that all the pendants you wear have your full names on them. Not abbreviations, not nicknames, the name your parents picked out for you before you were born.” Everyone suddenly looked slightly uncomfortable (probably because not everyone went by their full name); Ruari still looked unhappy with Pomerot though. “Is he going to show us around this place or are we going to have to get into trouble ourselves,” Keri whispered to Ryan. Ryan snorted and focused straight ahead so that Pomerot could not see his amusement. “Are you going to tell us what these buildings are,” asked Cara in a polite tone. “Of course,” Pomerot answered. Everyone stood waiting for an explanation, but Pomerot just headed straight foward towards the buildings.
As soon as Pomerot began walking, everyone else began to follow. Keri was surprised that this place had remained a secret for so long. As Pomerot neared the smaller buildings, because the smaller buildings were grouped together, Keri began to wonder if there was a reason behind the arrangement of the buildings. When Pomerot reached the center of the cluster of buildings, he stopped and then turned to face everyone. “These small buildings are the buildings where you will live, they have everything that you will need to be comfortable. At this Arden asked “Do they have a small table where I can put my fish?” Pomerot sighed, “Yes, they should have a table, and if they don't have one that meets your standards you can make one for yourself.” “Ok, just wondering.” Pomerot rolled his eyes and continued. “I will show you all which buildings you will stay in after we finish with the tour of the grounds.” He led them on farther and once he reached the first of the larger buildings, he said, “This is where you all will meet for your meals, everyone will alternate cooking, so that it is not a chore for only one person.” At this, most everybody groaned in frustration, mostly the boys, although Cara seemed fine with the idea. Cooking did not bother Keri. She had taught herself how to cook a long time ago, mostly because Reowna was to lazy to cook her own food when her mother was gone. Remembering Reowna made Keri want to punch something, or, more specifically, a certain someone who was driving everyone crazy, so she forced her bratty ‘sister’ out of her head and focused on the importance of the current moment. “Are you going to show us around the larger buildings,” Keri asked. “Yes, I am getting to that,” Pomerot snapped. Keri rolled her eyes in exasperation and frustration. Apparently that is exactly how Ryan felt because he did the exact same thing.
Pomerot led them inside the closest of the two buildings. Inside was a long table with chairs down the sides. Keri noticed that there was something different about the table and wondered aloud, “why aren't there any chairs at the ends” For once, Pomerot let his annoyance slip down a notch, “Very good Keri. There are no chairs at the ends because we are all equals in this fight.” Keri simply nodded in agreement because she did not want to end up fighting with Pomerot. “The kitchen is through that door,” Pomerot resumed in his normal irritated state as he pointed towards a door near the end of the room. As Pomerot led everyone out of the Kitchen, Keri thought that she heard Ruari and Arden talking behind her, probably about how they were annoyed with Pomerot or something along those lines.
Pomerot led them into the second building, which Keri realized with a start, was much larger than the kitchen. In here, there was a long empty area for whatever you could imagine to go on there. Along the walls were various weapons, including as Cillian was quick to point out, a “really big ax.” “Be happy,” Seamus told him, “It looks like it is to heavy for anyone to use.” Pomerot raised an eyebrow but kept his neutral countenance. Then, faster than anyone thought possible, he reached up and pulled the ax up off the wall, then spun around and hurled it at a target some distance away. As it struck the dead center of the target, it make a thwack sound that caused the leather handle to vibrate for a few seconds. “Ouch,” Myra said while wincing dramatically. Cillian and Seamus simply stood, wide eyes staring at the ax.
Pomerot calmly walked over to the ax and yanked it out of the target, then inspected the target carefully. “I was a little off,” he said without any emotion. The boy’s eyes just grew wider. After replacing the ax, Pomerot said, “let me reintroduce you to a friend of mine,” then led them out of another door on the opposite side of the building and into an enclosed area. The area had a wooden fence surrounding it that stopped just at the forest’s edge. Pomerot brought his fingers to his lips and whistled, loud and sharp. Pomerot then raised his arm up and held it there. Almost immediately, the hawk from a few days ago soared overhead, and then with a quick dive, landed on Ruari’s shoulder. Ruari did not move an inch, and surprisingly, looked very calm. “Hi,” she said to the bird, “fancy seeing you here?” Pomerot looked in a surprised manner from his bird to Ruari, and then back at the bird, and then decided to look back at Ruari. “Seamor is still being trained. He is only a year old.” Ruari said nothing, but she began to pet Seamour. Apparently Ruari was good at whatever she was doing because Seamour closed his eyes and his feathery little face looked happy. Pomerot looked at the hawk again, and then said, “alright, you can stay there for now.” Seamour opened his eyes and gave Pomerot an innocent look while Ruari smiled triumphantly. Pomerot turned on his heels and took the group back to the smaller buildings.
Everyone reached the buildings at the same time. When Pomerot stopped, Keri saw that each building was slightly different. Some had more windows that the rest, others had small gardens that were fenced off from the rest of the area. Pomerot immediately began to point out which buildings belonged to which person. Everyone had their backs to the larger buildings, and were facing the tree in the center. There were four buildings on the side closest to the larger building, and five on the side closest to the kitchen. Pomerot started on the right, “Myra you have the one farthest from us. Ryan, you have the one next to hers. Remera you and Arden have the one next to Ryan’s.” The twins opened their mouths to protest but Pomerot silenced them with a glare saying, “ You agreed to this, you will share a house with each other. Seeing as you have lived together in the past I see no reason why you cannot now.” Neither one of them looked happy, but they let Pomerot continue. He cleared his throat and began again, “On the left Keri you have the farthest one from here. After her there is Cara, and then Seamus. Then there is an empty one, and then Cillian you are the one closest to us.” Cillian sighed, “Why am I isolated from everyone else?” “The other families that lived there are now gone because they had no children and no other relatives. Think of it this way, you will have quiet while the others have to listen to each other.” “Wait, so these were occupied by our parents, or other people who were related to us?” “Yes” Pomerot answered.
Keri and the rest started to head towards their new homes when Pomerot added, “Keri, Remera, would you come here please?” It was not a question, but the please did help. Ryan, who was walking with Keri, turned at the sound of Pomerot’s voice, and began to walk with Keri toward Pomerot. That is, until Keri waved him off, and left with a nod. Keri and Ruari, who still had Seamour perched on her shoulder, walked over to Pomerot. Pomerot looked at Ruari for a moment and then said, “I will speak to you in a minute.” Ruari nodded and then walked over to the tree with Seamour and sat down on the bench. Pomerot turned to Keri and looked her up and down. Keri felt uncomfortable, like he was evaluating her worth. He stared at her eyes before saying, “I take it you want to know why I trust you?” Keir was taken aback, this was not what she was expecting. Keri expected to be in trouble for some unknown reason. After all, she was with Ruari, and by now it was rather obvious that Ruari and Pomerot would rather be bitten by Seamour than to agree on anything. “Yes,” Keri answered cautiously. Pomerot held out his hand and said “May I see your Pendant?” Keri slipped the metal out from underneath her shirt, pulled it over her head, and placed it into Pomerot’s outstretched hand. He turned it over and looked at the back. “Can you read the writing on the back?” he asked. Keri shook her head no. “I see,” Pomerot said. “Would you like to see what is inside?” he asked. “Yes,” Keri said. Pomerot held the compass by its chain and then pointed to a small crack that ran along the entire side of the compass, except for one small area where there was a piece of metal connecting the two sides. Keir watched as Pomerot pushed down on the area, and immediately it sprang open. Pomerot pulled the two halves apart and then pulled out the piece of paper that he had let no one else see. Keri looked at it and her heart caught in her throat. It was of three people, A man, woman, and baby, all with pale skin and black hair. The only difference was the woman had blue eyes, not the really deep sapphire like Ryan’s. They were blue like a hydrangea and seemed to sparkle, even through the old paper. Keri had her father’s eyes, that much was obvious, they both shared the same bright silvery eyes that would have scared anyone in Henna out of their wits. After that, Keri couldn't tell who she looked like because she had never seen the use in staring at a mirror (that was always vain Rowena's job).
“I knew them,” came Pomerot’s voice, jolting Keri out of her thoughts. “You did?” Keri asked surprised that he had not mentioned it before. “Yes. They were good people. Your parents were a lot like you in more ways than you can imagine. When your father was younger he used to annoy the others, mainly your mother, by hiding on the roof of his house and using a slingshot, shoot them with acorns that he found under trees. Needles to say, your mother, whose house was across from his, would never submit to the Agile Acorn Archer. She, to retaliate, found another slingshot and began to return fire from her bedroom window. Kerian did not expect Kira to fight back, but she did. For a few weeks at one point nobody could walk past either of their houses, for fear of being ambushed by stray acorns. After several complaints and my involvement, Kerian and Kira formed a truce, and then teamed up with each other against the rest of us for stopping their fun. They were around nineteen at the time, and by that time, excellent fighters. In fact, they were some of my best students.” Keri didn’t know what to say. Pomerot had told her more about her parents in a few sentences than anyone had ever told her in her entire life. “I remember when they got married, it was small and just the two of them. They ended up living in Kerian’s house, the one that you have as your own now. I remember when you were little, your parents would play with you often, as did Ryan. For toddlers, you two seemed like good friends. It seems like you two were meant to be friends.” Keri was listening, but at the mention of her knowing Ryan before this, Keri thought that her head might actually do what her brain was doing, spinning in circles. “When the Cosantóirí first left, Ryan’s parents sent him to his aunt and uncle who after their death, sent him to their son, his much older cousin. Your parent’s were supposed to send you to your grandparents, but apparently you didn’t get there, or for some reason they brought you along.”
Keri felt like her head was full of questions all trying to get out, the main one being, how come Pomerot did not know anyone else? “ So, Keri asked, “Um how come you didn’t know anyone else?” “I did,” Pomerot replied with his no emotion face, “I knew Myra, and I knew Cillian and his siblings. I knew anyone who had both parents as a part of the Cosantóirí. Seamus, Cara, Arden, and Remera all only had one parent and their parent’s agreed to raise them away from here so that they could be normal children for as long as possible.” “Ok,” Keri answered numbly. Keri sensed that this was the end of the conversation as Pomerot took back the paper and then placed it back inside it’s home inside the pendant. He closed the back, and it secured with a click. Pomerot handed Keir back the compass, and then called for Ruari. Keri slipped the chain over her head and passed Ruari as she said, “Finally! I was afraid this guy was going to poop all over me!” Seamour just looked at Ruari as if saying something to her. Ruari smiled at the bird, and then walked over to Pomerot.
Keir reached her house. That’s right isn’t it, it’s always been my house, and my home… maybe? Keir walked up three small steps onto a tiny porch, and then through the door. The air was musty, and gave a feeling of remembrance. It was as if the house knew that a happy family would no longer live within its repair needed walls. But there was also another feeling drifting through the air, a feeling of hope for a happier ending that the one it was facing at the moment.
this is the entire story that i am writing, or at least what i have right now.