Seasons | Archers
By Glake Micole Riuno
© 2014 Glake Micole Riuno
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof
may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
without the express written permission of the publisher,
except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Section I: Orientation Scene I: The Discovery
Autumn has always been my favorite season, here in Wudwurn. The fresh smell of the crisp leaves that lie on the sidewalks & street corners; the cool, early morning air that always creped through my window seals, and of course, the bright & vibrant colors of the leaves that greeted me from every tree, each morning I flicked open the blinds to my windows. It was a peaceful season here in Wudwurn, for most that is. For us young ones, however, it meant going back to school and spending most of these perfect picture day’s inside of a building for hours, staring at a chalk board, or sheets of paper.
I was never for it, never will be. I was never the studious type, but that had not mattered, for I was simply smart enough to get by in school. Not genius smart, to the event where I would never have to do any homework because I Aced every test, but more so, “lucky smart”; the kind where you just happen to be “barely spot on” majority of the time. But despite my successfulness in the classroom, I still hated to be there, every moment. So with that said, my job here is not to tell you much about the happenings during those long hours in a classroom, but instead to tell you about the several hours spent out of school, which changed things forever.
Ever since I can remember, the colder seasons have always been my calling to enjoy the outside. I’ve always hated the heat; therefore, during summer days I often just stayed inside, and relaxed alongside the company of my air-conditioned living room. My mother often urged me to get up and go out, sometimes even forced, but that never actually ended up changing my overall outlook on the season. But now, autumn had arrived, and nothing was going to stop me from finally being able to enjoy the beautiful outdoors, something I had longed to do since the beginning of summer.
It was early October here in Wudwurn, and mid-afternoon on the first day of the season of autumn, that I decided to finally go out, and get some fresh air. I lived in a nice neighborhood, calm & peaceful, for the most part, and surrounded by trees that every autumn, were bound to give you that colorful viewing fix you’d been dreaming of all Summer long. The actual housing area was entitled, “Wudwurn Woods”, though; it wasn’t as densely populated with trees, as you would imagine a place with “woods” in the title would be. But it definitely had its areas, and I was one to soon find that out.
I had just gotten out of school, right off the bus to be exact. I was still carrying quite heavy material in my backpack, books and such, so the exploring was much more strenuous than I originally intended it to be. I didn’t go too far, just to one specific place that had caught my eye a few weeks earlier, on the way to school.
Our bus route was different this year, generally after picking me up from a certain corner, it would continue straight down the road, going on it’s way, traveling several more blocks down. But this year it changed, and for that I’m grateful. From the right of the corner I waited on every morning, lay a sort of cul-de-sac, which only a few houses reside on. Oddly enough, this cul-de-sac was now a required stop on my buses route this year, even though only one person waited at this stop. I could see why it was necessary, because the cul-de-sac was just far enough to be completely out of view of the bus stop, in which I waited at, along with a few others, to the point where you wouldn’t even be able to tell if the bus was coming or not by viewing down the street. The cul-de-sac was also quite nicely completely out of view from my house, which the importance of that I will share with you later.
But where I was headed, wasn’t exactly the cul-de-sac, though, Its entrance was in-fact on the cul-de-sac, right across from a strange empty house, which also lay on the small street. The entrance was quite small, to the point where I’m actually pretty shocked that I had caught glimpse of it while riding on the bus, considering my vision is not exactly on par with average. I thought of it as a sort of forest opening, even though, I hadn’t actually went inside of the opening yet, to determine if it were an actual forest or not. But the openings, as well as the surroundings, from both sides were shrouded with trees. Not to mention the opening looked pretty dark, so I was absolutely positive that beyond the opening lied nothing but trees as well.
I walked slowly down the street, quietly, it wasn’t until I caught glimpse of the forest opening, that a very eerie feeling begin to creep over me. I walked slowly up to the opening, clueless as to what I was going to find. I had no weapons of any sort on me, so if I were even by chance trespassing the home of a bear, wolf, coyote, or even a person, they’d pretty much be able to do anything they’d like with me; for as long as I could not fend them off with my own two hands at least, and, well yeah, I guess the bag on my back as well. The entrance was dark, just as I expected, not pitch black dark, but dark enough to the point where the sun sure had a hard time making its way through the thick trees. Just as I began to continue forward in, I noticed I had to carefully make my way down a very steep hill, which surprisingly was right at the entrance. “Wow, this goes way down” I said to myself. It wasn’t exactly fatally steep, but steep enough to the point where if you weren’t careful, you’d definitely be rolling down, maybe even face first, instead of stumbling. Thankfully, there were small sturdy trees, bushes, and branches I could grasp, to make the journey down a bit easier.
It took about 2 minutes of careful footing until I finally made my way down to the bottom. “Thank God, flat land!” I mumbled to myself, as I began to continue deeper into the woods, which was more of what it was now, instead of a forest. As I continued to walk, I noticed there was a ton of flat ground from where I stood, and from where the land began to rise, on both the far left, and right sides. It was almost as if the entire area was dug out by some sort of giant machine, or stomped on, by a giant shoe. It was peaceful down here, colorful leaves lie on the ground, and hung everywhere; and birds chirping happily could be heard from the above.
As I continued to make my way down the trail, one thing came to mind. Where were the animals? I didn’t spot a single deer, nor squirrel, fox, raccoon, wolf, coyote, bear, you name it. Only the birds were present, which, now that I think of it, I had only heard, not saw. After roughly two more minutes of steady walking, I came across a large fallen tree, quite huge, and it lay right in the way, disabling me from being able to continue down the open pathway. This tree covered the entire wide span of ground in which I discussed earlier; the only way I’d be able to get pass it, would be to either to climb over it, or travel back up the steep hills on either side. Instead, I decided to climb over it. Which now that I think of it, was a stupid idea, considering the weight that I was also carrying on my back. It was a tough climb upwards, and a rough jump back down on the other side. But it wasn’t until I landed, did I finally realize this adventure was over.
As I slowly walked forward, I began to hear the noise of something softly gliding across – what sounded like street pavement in the distance. Once I walked even swifter forward, I noticed it was the end of the line for me, or so I thought at the time. The entire trail, lead to nothing but another street. Another cul-de-sac, to be exact. I looked to both my far left and right, and also noticed on top of the steep hills on both sides, lay houses, very nice ones at that, so I began to worry. “Damn, I’m probably on their property” I thought to myself. It was at that time that I had decided I no longer wanted to be on that side of the tree, for if someone were to spot a kid, wearing a backpack, on their property, I could only assume they’d think I were up to no good. So that was that, I quickly hopped up on the fallen tree, and climbed my way back over. Once I landed on the other side, a gentle breeze blew through the entire woods, and not too far ahead of me a group of fresh, fallen, vibrant leaves, were dancing in the wind. It was at this time that I decided I wasn’t exactly ready to leave the area quite yet. So I made myself comfortable on the ground, while leaning against the large fallen tree, unzipped my backpack, and began working on my assigned homework for the night.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “Why exactly does it matter that you traveled into some mysterious woods, only to find nothing but a fallen tree?” And trust me, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that at all, but that small journey, wasn’t even the introductory to those woods after all that would happen the following day.
The next morning I woke wide awake, more awake than usual, I always hated getting up early, but today was different, mainly because of the fact that I had managed to get my homework done quite early the previous day in the woods, where as usually, I’d find myself up considerably late at night, working carelessly to finish it all. I looked forward to some early social interaction that morning on the bus, so as soon as I was picked up at my stop, I hopped on board and plopped down in a seat next to me friend Amy. “Hellloooo Towaile!” she greeted in a cheerful, yet dragging on tone, which made me assume she was pretty wide awake as well that morning. “Hey, how’s your morning going?” I asked perk-fully. “I’m pretty tired, stayed up pretty late doing this stupid science research assignment with pennies and soda, it was pretty enjoyable until I spilled-” She cut off mid sentence, just as the bus came to a screeching, jerking, halt. Luckily I had my legs up on the seat so they acted as support; so my body wouldn’t go sliding off the seat. At first I assumed someone in their car probably pulled out from their driveway, right in front of the bus; until I peered out from over my seat to get a glance out the front window, as well as the left side windows on the bus, since I was sitting on the right side. We were on the cul-de-sac, right by the woods, and outside of the bus, stood probably close to twenty deer, all cluelessly wandering, and grazing on grass. Once the other kids on the bus took sight of the animals, they all stood up, and vision of all the deer became pretty hard to see from just sitting down, peering over the side of my seat. Much like the others, I soon stood up as well, and since I was above the average height, unlike a lot of the kids on the bus, I could fully see what was going on. The bus driver honked lightly not to be too noisy, but loud enough to give the deer freight, and to have them clear off of the road. They didn’t budge much, but once he jerked the bus forward a bit, they began to clear out pretty rapidly. I had never seen that many deer at once in my life, I soon began to wonder if perhaps, there was some sort of main nest nearby, but my wondering was soon put to a cease, as I watched them all, every last one, quickly dart down into the entrance of the woods, the same entrance in which I traveled into the day prior. “I went down into those woods yesterday, and I didn’t spot a single deer, where did they all come from?” I asked looking towards Amy. “They were probably at the wrong place at the wrong time maybe, that’s probably why they even went down there,” she said whilst glancing out of her window. I thought to myself, it made sense, but there were literally no other sort of entryway to any other sort of woods. for blocks down the road, I highly doubted all of those deer wandered the open roads that early in the morning only to reach those one woods. After all, there were roughly twenty of them.
The bus eventually continued on its way, but my mind, from then, during the school day, all the way until the end of the school day, drifted in and out, thinking about the deer from earlier that ran into the woods. I wondered if they’d maybe, still possibly be there; it was unlikely however, considering more than seven hours had passed since that encounter, but somehow, I still remained convinced that I were to discover some sort of nest, or remains of a nest later that afternoon after school.
Unlike the prior day, I made a stop at home to unload my heavy backpack. I figured any loud noises would scare any living creature away, and since the materials in my bag where both quite heavy, and noisy, as I noticed the day prior, It probably was in my best interest to leave everything behind. “Where are you headed too Towaile?” my dad asked on my way out. “Just headed outside for a short walk, probably down to the park, and maybe the gas station to get some snacks”, I lied right through my teeth. I hurried out the door, and quickly walked towards the cul-de-sac, where the entrance was. It was right at that moment upon my arrival at the entrance, did I feel a bit uncomfortable, considering I didn’t have a weapon on me once again. Unlike yesterday, this time was a bit worse, considering the fact that if I were to come across a deer nest, I’d more than likely be seen to them as a threat. But it was too late; besides, I thought to myself, that if I were to go back, and grab a knife, club, pole, or something, my dad would think it to be a little fishy. So I gathered up my courage, and began carefully making my way down the steep entrance once again.
As I made my way halfway down, I heard several very loud chirps not to far from behind me. It startled me to the point where I ducked quickly and lost footing, I began sliding down the steep entrance uncontrollably, panicking to grab hold of any branch or tree near me, eventually, I caught balance by putting my hands on the ground, they were a little scuffed up due to the quick impact, but nothing even a tad bit severe. During the entire stumbling session, I managed to look up and notice the loud chirping that came from behind me was in fact a cluster of extremely green, vibrant, brids; which flew further into the woods. I found it strange that they would be flying so close to the ground instead of making their way in from above, and not only that, but also the fact that these were very vibrant, bright, green birds, in which I’ve never seen before in Wudwurn, let alone in my entire life. I walked more cautiously down the trail this time around, looking from both sides, carefully, in case I were to perhaps miss glance of any signs of animal life, or nests around. It was so still, for probably the next 3 minutes; no wind, no birds chirping, nothing, my hopes of finding any sort deer, or even a nest had quickly vanished once I spotted the fallen tree once again. I leaned up against it and sighed, disappointed to not find anything out of the ordinary, especially after the encounter, with all the deer outside the bus, earlier that morning. I climbed to the top of the fallen tree and laid on my back, staring up at the tree-covered sky, and just thought to myself. It was an awesome feeling to discover a place so peaceful and quiet, and I quickly considered it all my own. But I was soon to be proven otherwise, all too soon. Several minutes had passed as I daydreamed, just staring upwards, into the above. But suddenly, out of my amazement, several more bright green birds darted out from the direction of the entrance to the woods, swooping low past me, further into woods. I sat up, and looked towards the direction of the end of the woods where the other cul-de-sac lie, I squinted my eyes, but did not see it from that distance. I thought maybe the nest these birds were perhaps headed to, were in fact in that direction. So I hopped down from the top of the fallen tree, and made my way.
As I continued to walk further down the trail, a very odd feeling began to come over me, a feeling as if I were being watched; the trees began to stir up, as a quick breeze blew through the entire woods. I looked all around me only to find nothing. The breeze landed a feeling on my skin, so eerie, I immediately gained Goosebumps, but during this entire time, while all these thoughts and fears were stirring through my head, I had not realized how much further I had actually been walking. The trail began to go on and on, and I swore to myself I should have reached the end by now, where all the houses lie on top of the hills, as well as the cul-de-sac, which actually was the end of the line, as far as the woods were concerned. But none of it came to sight at all. I immediately thought I had to have taken a wrong turn, unknowingly, or perhaps carelessly entered the woods through a different entrance, but that wasn’t it. Despite all the thoughts stirring in my head at that moment, I continued down the trail, which went further, and further down. The entire wide open ground, began to bend into more of a hill, and the terrain on both of the steeper hills that lie on both my far right, and left sides, began to fill with large trees, all covered with bright orange, red, and yellow leaves. I started to continue down the path slowly. I turned for a second just to see how far I’ve gone; it seemed to have been several minutes since I hopped down from the fallen tree, and it was also nowhere to be in sight. But it was at that moment, that it all began to happen. I took only a few steps more, until I heard a loud, sharp, snapping noise from one of the trees on my far right. It was loud enough to give me a pretty good startle, so just by natural reaction I quickly darted forward, but that only lasted maybe five steps total until I heard a sturdy voice yell “Take one more step, and this arrow goes right through your heart!” My heart stopped for a few seconds, and so did my body, it remained frozen. I threw up my hands quickly in surrender. I immediately assumed I was trespassing on another neighbor’s property, and I was absolutely done for, this time around. But as I glanced up, hands still in the air, my eyes fixed upon a group of men, lined in array from tree branch to tree branch, holding in-ready-position, giant bows & arrows assembled to shoot at any second.
I slowly turned around to my left side, hands still in the air, and noticed from the trees above, even more men standing in array on various tree branches, holding Bows and Arrows as well, ready to fire at any second. “You have no right to be wandering down here!” the same man yelled from a tree branch on the far right. “State your business right away!”, “I was just exploring, I swear! I had no idea I was on your property!”
I explained frantically, “I was just trying to reach the cul-de-sac at the end of the woods and-,” “cul-de-sac?” “There is no cul-de-sac here! Lies! Lies! LIES!” The man shouted, as he was quick cut my explanation short. “I beg of you, I wouldn’t lie, I was here yesterday and I swear to you, a cul-de-sac marked the end of these woods!” I shouted at the man, I was getting desperate, and those bow and arrows looked awfully dangerous, all of various shapes, sizes and color, they all looked of such great complexity, I could only imagine at that moment the immense pain it would cause me once that arrow reached my skin. The man in the tree glanced towards his fellow, yet smaller comrades, they all nodded at him. He quickly turned his head towards me once again straightening out his back, and sharpening his focus with this bow. I was almost for certain, at that moment, it was over for me. “We cannot allow potential threats on our land!” The man exclaimed as he raised his bow and arrow, “therefore-” “Now hang on just a moment general!” Shouted a softer voice from somewhere nearby within the woods. I kept my hands up in the air, yet while glancing in all directions, until I noticed a woman in a bright orange dress, with long golden silky hair, and bronze skin, peering out from behind one of the nearby trees. “Milady!?” The tall man in the tree gasped, who in which, I now knew was in fact, some sort of general. The lady calmly raised one hand, and softly demanded “Lower your bows boy’s” And they did just exactly that. I at first didn’t even have to look, because I heard the loud sounds of clicking, and shifting on their weapons, all in unison, from both directions. This lady, whoever she was, was obviously of a much higher rank compared to all these men.
She approached me slowly, “Where do you come from my dear?” she asked me in a gentle tone. “I..I’m from Wudwurn, I live right up the street,” I answered honestly, pointing towards the entrance of the woods, even though it was nowhere near in-sight. The men in the trees snickered as I answered. The lady quickly looked up at the general with a more stern expression on her face; the entire army put a cease to their snickering almost immediately. “Milady, why follow us here? We were simply searching food for the big feast and came across this trespassing peasant on the way here, he could be a great threat to you!” “Hush Lance!” The lady demanded, “The birds just so happen to inform me of his arrival, but unfortunately, not soon enough for me to be able to beat you all here”. “The birds!” I thought to myself. I could only imagine she held some sort of gift to speak to animals, and just so happened to speak to the same bright green birds that startled me earlier, as well as flew past me as I was resting on the fallen tree.
The woman turned to me once again and put her hand on my shoulder, “Since you are on our property, we are able to do what we’d like with you, until you return back to your world.” My eyes widened in shock, “My…world?” I questioned quietly, tilting my head towards her. The woman smiled calmly, while staring at me square in the eyes. This bothered me, for she knew things I did not know at that very moment, and I was sure that close to an hour had passed since I had been gone. I hadn’t exactly given a specific time frame as to when I’d be back, but generally, walks to get snacks had only taken me close to half an hour at most. The woman looked up at the general, Lance, who now stood quietly in the tree. “We shall take him to my sister, Clarity! She will then decide what we shall do with him!” the woman explained. All the men in the trees made a giant leap down, and landed on both sides of us. Ten of them made their way behind us, and ten in front. I then realized they were doing nothing only but escorting me to the destination the woman had desired to go, keeping an eye on my every move. I couldn’t have made a run for it, not without being severely injured, so I made my way along with them, as we all continued to follow the path, as the ground took and even steeper turn, deeper into the woods.
“Preface” Section I: Orientation, Scene II: Intro to BlueEarth
We all walked down this spiraling path for maybe a few more minutes, until a small town came into view. The dirt path I had followed earlier, and had been following at the time of the confrontation with the men with arrows, eventually turned into smooth, cobblestone road, decorated with gas-lit lampposts on each sides of the path. Not all of them were lit, but that only made me realize how quickly sundown was approaching. “If I were to perhaps be held hostage here, my family would flip!” I thought to myself. Despite my worries, I didn’t make a fuss, for; I did not want to cause any more danger to myself, than of what I had already put myself in.
As I followed deeper into what now was beginning to appear as a town, I noticed more and more houses, these in which, were actually on flat land, owners peered out from the windows, and the ones outside looked at me curiously and bowed as the woman in the orange dress came more into their view. “What in the world is going on here?” I thought to myself as I witnessed the villagers bowing before her. I was now fairly certain that she was of some high status or importance, which just made me feel even more uncomfortable.
After spending several minutes gazing around, I hadn’t noticed that the “caving in” of the path vanished, and we were on flat land once again. I also noticed that the town was not as small as I first pictured it to be, compared to the distance we were walking from before making the entrance. Extremely tall trees towered around the area we were currently in, but the cobblestone path continued on and on, until a large building came into view. It was extremely large and circular, at the top; a golden dome could be seen. At first I was for sure it had to be some sort sports stadium, but I then reminded myself, that I was apparently in a different world, it would be nothing but foolish to assume the same kind of activity, from my world, happened here in this different world.
After noticing the dome, I was for sure this is where they were taking me, it looked much too elegant, fancy, and majestic, to be some sort of place where they would take harmful beings. With that in mind, a sort of calmness came over me. But it wasn’t until the woman in the orange dress spoke to me again, after arriving at the entrance of the circular building, did I begin feeling nervous yet again. “We are here, the home of my sister Clarity, and the Sanctuary to us all!” The woman announced as she smiled at me, then turned towards Lance, “Please escort him directly to Clarity, and do not leave him alone unless given order to do so, understood?” Lance nodded and walked to the entrance, I followed as expected and kept close behind him. He slowly opened the door, and to my amazement lie a large, fancy, dining hall; almost as if Balls, or even Weddings, of some high stature were held here on a daily basis. Men in Suits, and Woman in dresses immediately stopped their socializing as I came into their view. “An outsider!” I heard a few of them hiss as I walked by. At that moment, Lance grabbed my arm and quickly rushed me through the crowd of people. As it began to thicken, it was hard to see the remainder of the building, but once a clearing in the crowd began to open up, I caught vision of an extremely large staircase, which we were headed for, and two very large doors behind it. Two guards dressed in full armor stood by these doors, so I automatically assumed that whatever was happening behind them, had to be of some great importance.
We began heading up the long staircase, it spiraled, twisted, turned, and curved; you name it! Once we reached the top, a large white door stood in view. This was when Lanced stopped, let go of my arms, and turned towards me, “She’s just through those doors” he said quietly, “She has the power and authority to determine your fate, more so than I do, one wrong move, and it’s over for you.” All I could do was nod, I was in so much shock, and I didn’t think I could even make a move even if I wanted to. Lance held open the white door for me as I slowly approached it. It was dark inside, lit only by dim chandeliers and candles, it took me awhile to actually process what I was viewing, but after only a few seconds, I came to realize, a queen lived in here. For not to far in the distance, sat a woman on a golden throne wearing a long white dress and robe. As we entered she sat up in full attendance and spoke “Good Afternoon Wander’s!” Lance immediately proceeded to get down on one knee, I tried to follow quickly, but she yelled, “You do not know whom I am! Therefore, you shall not kneel.”
I looked down in embarrassment until Lance elbowed me in the arm; I quickly raised my head towards the woman once again. “Outsider, please come closer!” she demanded. I knew that very second, that she was talking to me, so I proceeded walking closer to the throne, simply waiting for her to tell me to stop, but she didn’t. I walked closer and closer, before I knew it, I was face to face to with her. She looked me in the eyes for a good several seconds, I stood back at her in return. It wasn’t until we heard Lance rustling in the background, that we immediately ceased the gazing session. I knew he was fumbling around with his arrow; ready draw his weapon out at me me at any given moment. The woman stood up from her throne and pointed at Lance, “Please leave us two alone for the time being, for I will let you know when you may return to the room.” Lance nodded, kneeled once again, and then quickly made his way out of the room. I knew he was just right outside the door. For it would have been foolish to let an outsider like me, roam freely around their hometown, for this I was soon to find out.
“Where do you come from my dear?” The woman asked gazing at me curiously. “I am from Wudwurn.” I replied calmly, “It would be foolish of me now, to say it’s not too far from here, as I’ve now been informed that I’m apparently in some kind of different world now. My hometown lies on the very same ground as the entrance to this world,” I continued calmly. “So then! State your business here!” The woman yelled demandingly. I cringed, for I knew I had begun to make her upset, though I wasn’t sure how. I sighed before continuing, “I was simply exploring the woods that lie a few blocks away from my house earlier today, I came across a large fallen tree, and rested upon it for a short period of time, until a flock of green birds startled me. Once I looked in the direction of where they were headed, I noticed the woods continued on a path, unlike yesterday.” I continued. The woman tilted her head curiously, which I assumed was the “O.K.” for me to continue onward. “Yesterday, when I journeyed into the woods shortly beyond the large fallen tree, the end of the woods was marked by nothing but a cul-de-sac on the other side of some trees, nothing more, it was only until today that I realized either I didn’t take the same path as yesterday, somehow, or…I unknowingly walked into some sort of portal.” I explained further hoping she’d buy my story, even though I knew it was the truth.
She looked at me with a curious look once again and said, “Perhaps you did…both?” She began to walk further into the sanctuary and stood in front of a very large painting of a beautiful tree. “This is BlueEarth my dear, the entrance to a whole different world, our world connects with yours in various ways, though, while many are able to exit this world into your world, very few are actually able to enter. No ordinary being is able to simply, enter our world, because for the most part, many humans, like you, have never intended to find the entrance to our world. This town, BlueEarth, is home to the goddesses of seasons, for both the season of life – summer, and the season of death – fall.” I stood in disbelief as she continued on. “My name is Clarity, I am the goddess summer, and the woman who escorted you here into BlueEarth, was my sister, Autumn, the goddess of fall. I personally apologize for any misunderstandings that may have happened at the entrance to BlueEarth.” “They almost killed me, your greatness, I am sorry to have caused so much trouble.” I stated with my head pointing towards the ground once again. Clarity put her hand on my shoulder, “It is not your fault my dear, you see, you are the first outsider to journey into this world in fourteen years!” She explained. “Fourteen years? But how? Why?” I asked frantically, full of questions. But to my disappointment, I wasn’t going to get many answers at that moment. “Fourteen years ago, in fact within a few days, fourteen years ago exactly, a great catastrophe happened here; which has scarred everyone since. I must not go into this now, for this is not the proper time. But you…you-“ Clarity gave me an odd look as I knew she was trying to get at my name. “Towaile” I answered, “Towaile!” she repeated whilst smiling, “You should be proud of yourself for discovering this world, for you have now been given the gift that many others do not have, and you shall embrace it!” She exclaimed in a quite cheery voice.
“Lance!” Clarity yelled as she clapped her hands, “We must give our new citizen a proper introduction to the town of BlueEarth, to make up for this quite rude misunderstanding”. Lance rushed into the Sanctuary, as Clarity grabbed my hand and began to lead me towards the doorway.
“Preface” Section I: Orientation, Scene III: BlueEarth History
All three of us quickly made our way out of the Sanctuary. I had no choice but to move quickly, for Clarity had a tight grip on my hand. We walked towards the top of the staircase, the same staircase Lance & I rushed up earlier, to meet with Clarity in the Sanctuary. I looked at Clarity oddly, as she loosened the tight grip on my hand and gazed at the crowd socializing, and wandering below. It wasn’t long until everyone below caught view of the Goddess of Summer, gazing at them from above. Suddenly they all came to a silence, giving Clarity their full, undivided attention. “Attention citizens of BlueEarth!” Clarity exclaimed raising her voice to quite high lengths, “Today I would like to make a very important announcement! This young man, here, by the name of *Towaile,[ *]is a boy from the outside world, the world known as Earth!” My eyes widened the moment I heard her say, earth, and how ironic it was to me, for her, to be describing me, as from the “outside” world. Eventually it all made sense. Since technically, I was intruding their world, and I was coming from a world different than there’s. But was I really the outsider? Or were they? My thinking was cut short the moment Clarity continued on with her, introductory announcement of me. “I am proud to announce, that for the first time in Fourteen years! Today, we are joined by a new citizen of BlueEarth!” Clarity raised my hand in the air as the crowd of people below began to cheer and clap. It was odd to me, for only not too long ago these people were staring me down so strangely, they could’ve sworn me to be an alien; but then again, that’s probably exactly what they were thinking. I was an outsider. An alien would just be an under-statement.
Clarity looked at me and smiled, I was flustered; but nonetheless, I bowed first to her, and then to the crowd. I turned towards Clarity once again and thanked her for introducing me to the rest of the Citizens. She looked towards Lance, and at that moment, I knew my time inside this great hall was soon to come to an end. “Lance?” Clarity questioned with a sudden wondering in her voice. “Yes, my elegance?” Lance replied as he began to kneel on one knee. “Please watch over the Chamber while I familiarize Towaile with BlueEarth.” Clarity requested. “Yes, my eminence” Lance obeyed. Clarity smiled, and then seized my hand once again. We quickly made our way down the staircase, and the crowd began to part as we made our way too the exit.
The moment we left the Chamber and stepped out outside, a chilling, yet loving breeze blew over the entire town. Now, unlike the winds that blow within my world, this one was different, perhaps it was just in the moment it happened, or perhaps maybe, it was because I was standing with one of the most elegant beings that had probably ever walked foot on this land. While even at this moment, I still remained unsure; but this breeze was unlike any I’ve ever felt before, and the moment it blew across the town, I knew it wouldn’t be long until I would fall captive to BlueEarth’s charms. Clarity stared down at me once again and smiled lightly, “The town greets you” she said softly to me. I just smiled back, for, I was a bit to flustered to come up with anything decent to say in return.
We made our way off of the front entrance to the Chamber, and began following a path down to what seemed to be the middle of the town. I gazed all around my surroundings, in awe of the view, and architect that was being bestowed upon my eyes. As we continued to walk, I couldn’t help but fix my eyes on what looked to be a giant maple tree in the distance. The tree stood dead center within a grassy plaza, surrounded by statues of some sort. I couldn’t quite make out what they were of, for we were still quite far away for me to make any sort of assumption as to whom the statues may be of, or what. “I see you have caught glimpse of the Habituate Tree.” Clarity said staring at it herself, straight ahead. “Habituate?” I asked, hoping for an explanation regarding the name. Clarity nodded, “Yes, Habituate.” She answered. “You see; this tree is no ordinary Maple Tree. This tree has stood over this land ever since the Dawn of BlueEarth, planted by our ancient ancestors. The tree represents time here, time in motion, and new life despite it being quite old.” Clarity further explained. We made our way closer to the tree, and finally reached the Plaza. It wasn’t until then, that I realized we were standing in the dead center of BlueEarth, right at that moment.
I quickly gazed all around me and caught view of the statues once again, gazing up at them. There were many, both around the tree, and more further in the distance within the center of the town. The ones that stood within the plaza were of both men and woman, standing proudly, all with differently shaped bow & arrows on their back. “Who are these people?” I asked, turning towards Clarity. “Ah, these are statues of the many great archers of this town, the guardians of BlueEarth”, she explained while gazing up at the statues herself. “Many of these men and women, of these statues, you may meet around the town; some perhaps, you may very well have seen already, some of which have either passed on, or have left this town to forge a new life for themselves.” She turned towards me once again “Now allow me to teach you a bit about the town. Yes, it is indeed a small town, however, the activities, and happenings that happen both within and outside of the town can be quite large. As you can see, the great Habituate marks the middle of the town, once you’ve reached this plaza, in case you are ever lost, it should not be hard for you to find your desired destination, as long as you know which direction it lies in.” Clarity turned towards the west, which was the direction of the town we were just in, as we headed to the plaza. “Now you see, the western side of town contains two major locations that you personally should know of. Firstly, and most importantly, the exit of your world, or, entrance to our world, lies just beyond the woods past the Chamber. Simply follow the cobblestone road from here to the Chamber, to the woods to get home, simple as that.” Clarity then turned towards the South, “Now in this direction lies the Witches Woods, as well as your main facility to buy weapons, armor, and really anything self-protection related.” “But, what’s with the Witches part?” I asked curiously, but at the same time withholding a trembling fear inside. A concerned look fell over Clarity’s face, “The Witches Woods, is where very wicked woman of this land conduct dangerous and dark ceremonies, which occasionally get out of hand. They aren’t exactly evil, however, they aren’t quite on the friendly side either. They have a very care-free attitude; and while they are rarely seen roaming during the day however, any-time after sunset, you can often expect them to be roaming the woods, and even sometimes the town.”
After hearing sunset, I quickly gazed up at the sky and noticed it was in-fact coming very close to nightfall, and I still had not even made it home yet. I felt anxious to get going, yet, I held it back, and let Clarity continue her explanation of the town. “Now if you turn to the east, you will see that this dirt path leads to another batch of woods, these woods have been known for reports of strange cases of talking animals and other creatures being encountered.” My eyes short wide open. “Did you just say, talking animals?!” Clarity chuckled softly, “That’s right, it’s no surprise to me that some people here are able to hear the animals speak directly to them; for I am able to speak to them, and it is truly a gift I am very happy to have. But other people are fearful of obtaining this gift.
But enough of that, on the other side of the (Talking Animal Forest) if you will, lies a beautiful large open plain that I am more than familiar with, following a giant lake that leads to-“Clarity continued to turn North which was straight ahead of us, past the great Habituate, “Ales & the Kispin Mountain!” Clarity announced. I could see far in the distance, miles and miles away, a giant mountain covered with snow. “Where, and what is Alese?” I asked, still gazing at the giant mountain far in the distance. “Alese is a much larger town, that lies on the other side of the Kispin Mountain, my other two sisters live in both of these locations.” Clarity explained, smiling at me once again. “You have more sisters?” I asked in awe, “Yes I do, Crystal, and Rose, both of them in which are goddesses themselves. Crystal, Goddess of Winter, lives in a palace on the peak of the Kispin Mountain, and my other sister, whom in which is the youngest, Rose, lives in a Chamber similar to mine within the center of Alese.” “So there were more goddesses”, I thought to myself, it was quite amazing to hear how all of these locations were in a fact connected to each other, in one way or another. Well, every location except for the *Witches Woods,[ *]which I was already quite frightened to hear about. It was not long afterwards that I decided to take another glimpse at the great Habituate. The beauty of this tree was like non other; tall, elegant, with branches spiraling in different directions, covered with bright red, yellow, and orange leaves. The town felt so pure, yet at the same time, I felt some un-easy feeling coming from Clarity as she gazed up at the tree herself. It was at that moment I decided I would try and get an explanation out of her, regarding the catastrophe she briefly mentioned earlier.
“So, Clarity, what exactly happened fourteen years ago, what was this catastrophe you spoke of?” I asked in a very patient tone. She turned towards me for just a few seconds, and then continued to gaze back at the giant tree, and then, began to speak. “My memory remains quite blurred of this situation to be honest, I do know however, when it happened, strange beings from some outside world, perhaps yours, perhaps another, invaded the town, seeking to take it over. They wanted to live in a world that was hidden from others, that was hard to find, with new resources, and new wonders. There was so much fire, so much fighting, many people believe that the intruders were of Alese blood, and had planned an invasion to seize the town. And many others, mainly people from Alese, believe it was our people from BlueEarth, who turned their back on both towns, and tried to take them both over for themselves, killing many in the process.”
Clarity then tilted her head towards the ground, “After that war ended, many people simply disappeared, the bodies were never found, my mother and father were one of those people.” I gripped Clarity’s hand, in an effort to comfort her, I wasn’t for sure if I was over-stepping my boundaries, “I’m extremely sorry to hear that Clarity” I said softly. “Unfortunately these sort of things occurs, my dear”, Clarity said gazing at the tree once again. “But even though time here remains frozen, ever since that dreadful night, the citizens of BlueEarth still stand strong, and as one!” she exclaimed proudly. I wasn’t exactly sure what she meant by time being “frozen”, and I wasn’t about to ask.
It had quickly grown darker outside, and I knew at that moment, I had to be getting back. “Clarity, I’m sorry to interrupt but, it’s almost nightfall, and I promised my father I’d be home thirty minutes from the time I had left, it’s been over three hours and it’s beginning to get late, I’m afraid he might be out looking for me by now.” Clarity’s eyes shot open widely, “Why did you not inform me of this?! Quickly! Make your way westward towards the Chamber, remember, follow the cobblestone path, from here, past the chamber, into the woods, and you should find yourself back into your world without much difficulty.” Clarity raised her hand in the air, as a slight breeze began to pick up. Suddenly, a bright green bird made its way out of the branches of the great Habituate, and landed on her shoulder. “She will guide you home.” Clarity said as she smiled at me. The bird quickly took off, and began darting westward towards the Chamber, without even thinking I dashed after it, eyes locked on the bird. I lifted my hand in the air, and shouted, “I shall return tomorrow! Thank you for everything!” I then, found myself smiling, and darted even faster after the bird, as I made my way out of BlueEarth.
Section II: To Rise From the Pines. Scene I: Of Archers
The little green bird that Clarity called upon to escort me home, successfully guided me back to the entrance of the woods. I darted up the spiraling and twisting path, only to be surprised to see the fallen tree once again. I hopped over it without hesitation, for I knew if I had not quickly arrived back at home soon, my father would probably start to worry.
Upon my arrival back home, I noticed my father was busy outside, mowing the backyard lawn; while my mother, was still out and about it seemed. My mother generally worked late, and usually, would not leave the office until about sunset; so luckily, I was safe. I quickly made my way upstairs to my room to avoid being caught coming back home so late. It felt weird sneaking around for once. I was, for the most part, a pretty honest young teenager; I told the truth almost all of the time. But after discovering BlueEarth, everything changed. I often would find myself bending the rules, and sneaking out, just to visit the town. Now, these things I will touch on more in a moment, and you will soon come to understand how exactly I managed to pull off such sly, and sneaky behavior.
Later on that night, I found myself in deep thought, day dreaming about BlueEarth; still in a deep-void of awe, and shock, from what I had experienced earlier that day. “The first new citizen in fourteen years!” I thought to myself. It was a nice feeling, but at the same time an eerie feeling came over me the further I began to think about it. For, I still had not fully understood the in’s and out’s of the great catastrophe that happened fourteen years ago, the same catastrophe that brought upon such great security and protection over the town. I thought too myself, if I were going to be a citizen of the town, why not become a protector as well? I thought of the statues of the Archers, and the actual Archers themselves, protectors of the land; all dressed in complex, elegant gear, carrying bows & arrows of great architect, and danger. I was so young, let alone, vulnerable, I highly doubted Clarity would allow me to join the ranks of such highly skilled and trained bowmen and women. But despite my insecurities, I thought about the strange assurance, and comfort I felt, as the breeze blew gently over the land as I exited the Sanctuary earlier that day along with Clarity. The land there, birthed something new inside of me, gifted me with a light, that I had yet to discover I held.
From my deep thinking, I eventually drifted off into a deep sleep, and that single sleep, was all I needed, to further ignite the ember that I was gifted earlier that day. I dreamed of a fiery storm, taking place within thick woods, darkened lines darted across the night sky, some glowing dimly, of various colors. A scream could be heard in the distance, along with sharp popping sounds, almost like gunshots. But then, suddenly, it all stopped. It was silent, for what felt like two whole minutes. As time slowly passed within the dream, the silence grew thicker, almost as if it began to have a sort of weight attached to it. Despite it being silent, my ears began to ache violently as the silence grew thicker, I could feel my ears popping from deep within my sleep, my head closing in on all angles of my cranium, the pain grew immense before I suddenly jolted upwards, finally awakening.
The sun shined brightly through my windows that morning, it was cold, and after sitting up, I noticed all of my blankets had fallen off my bed. “Strange” I thought to myself. I had not noticed myself moving at all throughout the nightmare I had, despite being in great pain. I sluggishly shifted my body to look at my alarm clock, “7:30am”, it read. I darted out the bed in shock, for I had to be at the bus stop in twenty minutes, and I hadn’t even begun to get ready. I quickly washed up and got dressed before darting out the door. I avoided eating simply because I never had been the type of person that ate in the morning, despite having a pretty large appetite most of the time.
The bus was quick to come. Exhausted, I made my way on board and took a seat. It wasn’t until the driver picked up the kid who lived on the cul-de-sac street, near the entrance to the woods, did I start to think about BlueEarth again. The dream from last night played, blurring through my mind. I soon was quick to remember visualizing being lost within thickened woods, surrounded by fire. My heart began to jump as I lay sluggishly in the seat on the bus, as I remembered Clarity describing the catastrophe that took place 14 years ago. “She specifically said, “There was so much fire.” I thought to myself. Perhaps I had dreamed about the catastrophe, but I wasn’t quite sure. However, at that moment, there were a few things that were certain to me now. The first being that – the dream struck deep, there was no doubt about it, and the second thing being that – I was almost certain I wanted to give a shot at becoming a protector of BlueEarth. As I stated earlier, I was never the type of person to contain “genius smarts”, I was more…lucky smart. And while I knew luck was not going to cut it, to become a proper protector of BlueEarth, I knew that my ambition would somehow carry me through. Throughout the rest of the bus ride, I planned how I would go about delaying my arrival home later that day, in order to meet with Clarity in the Sanctuary. That is, in the event that the entrance would present itself to me.
The entire school day went by slow, as usual. It seemed as my anxiousness grew deeper to make my way back to BlueEarth, the more slowly the school day would went. On my way back home, I got off the bus a few stops earlier, and made my way into the woods from a different direction. See, there was only one proper entrance, however, the actual woods expanded out a good 3 blocks or so, which meant I could get in from another location. The only way being however, is by cutting through some strangers backyard. Normally, I wouldn’t have taken the risk, but in order to keep myself hidden from my father, who had possibly been watching out the front door, waiting for me to get off the bus. It wouldn’t be hard at all for him to see me darting towards the cul-de-sac road that lead to the main entrance, since it was so close to our house.
The side entrance to the woods I took was much more difficult to navigate through than I had originally thought. Bushes and branches, vines and plants, stuck so tightly together it quickly became extremely difficult to maneuver down the steep side slope. I carefully made my down slowly, and eventually spotted the fallen tree. Without hesitation, I climbed over it, my heart beating quickly. Upon making my way down, I spotted nothing but a long path in the distance, and I quickly broke out a big smile. I began to dart quickly down the path, as it slowly began to twist, turn, and spiral once again. I begun to make my way down the path much more slowly once the cobblestone road came into view. It was my first time making my way into BlueEarth alone, and I felt proud about it.
Once the gas lit lampposts began to pop up, I knew I was close to the Sanctuary; I passed by many small houses, almost like huts. Woman and children roamed around outside; the woman, hanging clothes and quilts up on their clotheslines, and children playing in the afternoon sun. As I came into their view they stared at me curiously. As I walked further down the path, I noticed a mother not to far ahead of me calling her child to come close to her. In a way, I understood her sudden concern. After all, I was technically an outsider, and I’m sure the parents of these children had experienced the catastrophe and did not want any more loss.
It wasn’t long until I made my way to the Sanctuary; I noticed Lance, dressed in full armor, was guarding the entrance. “Well! Look’s who’s made their return!” he greeted loudly. I grinned awkwardly. “Lance, I wish to speak with Clarity privately, is she around?” I asked desperately. “And what makes you so sure that you deserve to speak with the Goddess?” Lance asked as he folded his arms. I sighed, “Look, it’s kind of important, it would mean a lot to me if you can take me to her, please?” By that time, I was beginning to sound really desperate, but despite my desperation, it seemed I broke through to him. Lance stared at me hard and curiously, “Very well then!” He agreed as he escorted me inside the Sanctuary.
Upon entering the first thing I had noticed is that it was empty. Neither party, nor dining was taking place at the moment; it was silent, yet emphatic with beauty. I looked above, expecting to see the sparkling of the golden dome, but it wasn’t there, just a flat ceiling; “This must be only a small section of the Sanctuary,” I thought to myself, as we made our way up to Clarity’s chamber. Lance knocked on the door. “Milady! I am here with Towaile; he wishes to speak with you in private” Lance announced. The door opened quickly, Clarity peeped her head out curiously; upon seeing me she smiled and fully opened the door. “Towaile.” she said smiling, “Come in my dear!” She held the door open while I made my way inside. It was at that moment I noticed Autumn standing off to the side within the room, observing me curiously. My eyes caught glimpse of hers, and hers of mine. I nodded, and she nodded back, turning away quickly afterwards. “I will be just right behind these doors if you need me, Milady.” Lance assured. “Thank you Lance, I will let you know when we are done here.” She said as she slowly closed the door.
The shutting doors echoed loudly throughout the chamber. Clarity turned towards me, “So! What is it that you would like to talk about my dear?” she asked walking towards me. “I was really hoping we could talk…privately.” I said in a quiet tone, trying to avoid offending Autumn. “Nonsense!” She said bursting into a chuckle, “It’s Lance that you should be worried about getting in on your conversations my dear. He’s always up to his ears when it comes to anything but his business; now what is it you would like to chat about?” Autumn made her way towards the both of us; she as well, curious as to what I wanted to say. It was at this exact moment, that I fully managed to gather up the courage to ask her if I could begin working towards becoming a protector of BlueEarth, and so I did just that. “I know this may come as sudden, but, I want to know what the prerequisites are to becoming a protector of BlueEarth, you know, like Lance!” I announced. Autumn folded her arms, “Why do you wish to become a protector my dear? What is it you want out of it?” Autumn asked as she butted into the conversation. Clarity looked towards her for a split second, and then focused back on me. I let out a sigh and began to explain to the both of them my feelings for BlueEarth, and how it felt like home. They both began to chuckle, “I’d expect any sort of outsider to fall in love with BlueEarth my dear! It welcomes everyone with open arms!” Clarity stated as she put her hand on my shoulder. “But becoming an Archer is not the only way you can help protect the town my dear.” She continued. Autumn nodded in agreement with her sister, “That’s right, while many of the citizens here in BlueEarth may not be Archers, they all do their part in watching over the town” Autumn explained.
I sighed once again, this time exhausted. I felt defeated, they both had very good points, and how did I differ from the rest of the citizens within the town? What made me so special, besides being an outsider, which would be a reasonable excuse for me to become a protector? After all, I was only a child in their eyes. In a last attempt to backup my request, I decided to explain to both Clarity and Autumn the dream that I had dreamed the night before. Only after that did something click in their minds, and while I wasn’t sure what clicked, and why at the time, I knew the dream meant something to them, something to everyone. I explained it all to them as clearly as I could; I described the surreal feel of the burning woods around me, and the colored thinned lines, soaring through the moonlit sky, the loud popping sounds that echoed within my mind, and the screams that could be heard from all directions.
I went on and on, until Clarity raised her hand signaling me to stop. She looked towards Autumn with a concerned look on her face, and let out a quiet sigh, “Well it sounds like BlueEarth has spoken to you.” She said, then turning to me with a concerned look on her face. “You are much too young to become a protector my dear, however-“ “But my dear sister!” Autumn yelled, interrupting Clarity, it was clear she was going to make a suggestion that Autumn did not agree with. My heart began to pound quickly right away in excitement, “However what?” I asked, anxious to here what ever else Clarity had to say. “However, if you are to dwell here as a citizen, I do believe it to be a smart choice to carry protection, especially if BlueEarth has potentially warned you with this ‘dream’” Clarity explained. “Lance!” Clarity called, while clapping her hands together.
Lance shortly came rushing into the room; he approached us with haste and knelt to both Clarity and Autumn. “How may I serve you?” he asked, still kneeling towards them. “Towaile here, has had an experience that I believe to be a message from BlueEarth, it seemed to have come in the form of a nightmare.” Clarity explained while looking down at Lance. “Preposterous! That dream could have meant anything my dear sister!” Autumn argued in frustration. “Maybe so, but we mustn’t take our chances in leaving him at risk.” Clarity explained. “Lance! Tomorrow, I would like you to take Towaile down to the armory and pickup his gear! You and I will journey down there later tonight to put the order in, understood?” She continued. “Yes my greatness, is there anything else you require of me?” Lance asked, still kneeling. “In fact, there is one last thing…” Clarity said as she turned towards me. It was at this moment we both caught eye to eye once again, but this time, it was much more different than ever before. She held a stern look in her eyes that shot directly to my heart; It was a look of desperation, yet trust, and sorrow all at once. And all I could do was look back at her, frozen, waiting in anticipation to hear her last request. “Train him within our level-1, archer training regimen. After all, what use will his gear be without the proper knowledge?”
Section II: To Rise from the Pines, Scene II To Become an Archer
I stood still in shock from the request I heard Clarity give Lance. I was confused at the same time as well, mainly because only minutes ago, Clarity had her mind set on a definitive “no” as far as putting me through any sort of training or practice to become a protector was concerned. And while at this time, I wasn’t sure if she was just caring for my safety, or if my dream spoke to her, or both! It was also at this moment that I knew I would be frequently visiting BlueEarth a lot more than I had originally intended to, upon first discovering it. Sneaking out during weekdays when both parents were busy was already difficult alone; I didn’t even want to think about the struggle I’d have to go through, and all the lies that I would have to tell, in order to stay out and about for a longer amount during the weekends; and tomorrow was Saturday, how would I make my exit with both parents home during the day?
After the discussion concluded with Clarity, Lance, and Autumn that day, I made my way home quickly to avoid any sort of conflict regarding how long I had been gone. Luckily neither my father nor mother was home at the time, so I had no need to be too sneaky. Upon returning home that Friday evening; I found myself in a slump, thinking as to how I would make my trips to BlueEarth a bit easier; or sneaking out the house rather, a bit more anonymous. I laid on my bed in deep thought for a good hour, until I was oddly drawn to look out my window. Never in a million years would I have ever thought about sneaking out my window to get out of the house secretly, it had never even crossed my mind before, not even in the slightest. I peered out my window in the midst of the setting sun to see how dangerous the trip down would be. I lived on the second and final floor of my house, and by the looks of it, jumping wouldn’t be to bad, in a dire situation at least, but one could definitely expect to shatter a bone or two. But I peered upwards in hopes to find something to grasp, and indeed I did; for not too far from my window stood a tall Cedar Pine tree.
The tree wasn’t in arms reach distance – from outside my window at least, but a short and ready leap from my window would definitely get me to one of it’s long branches, without a problem – at least so I thought. “This could be my perfect way out, any time, any day!” I thought to myself still peering at the tree from out my window. I knew this wasn’t the proper time to try and make the jump. After all, how would I explain the stupidity of jumping out my window to my parents? I was confident I’d make the leap to the tree without a problem nonetheless, but I was mainly much too tired to try. I thought about all of the possible outcomes that could take place; which would involve my parents finding out that I had snuck out. They were never too heavily involved with my business, but anything could happen. I had a lock on my door, so my best bet would probably be to keep it locked, and have music playing while I was out and about. I often played music quite loudly in my room, so this wouldn’t come across as suspicious to them, at least so I hoped. I smiled, satisfied with my cleverness and closed the window. I knew tomorrow was going to be a big day, and this was a weekend after all. Positive that things were going to change, quite a bit, after this evening, I left my room and went downstairs to visit with my family.
Before going to bed later that night, I mentioned to my mom that I planned to be working on a project all day the following day for school, and that I wished to not be bothered. This of course, was a pretty big lie, for two reasons. The first being that I had already planned to sneak out to BlueEarth, I had no plans to do any sort of homework, what so ever. And the second, being the fact that I didn’t even have any homework to begin with. All my teachers gave out absolutely zero homework for the entire weekend, so this was the perfect time for me to test my sneaking out method. After crawling into bed that night, I was filled with both anxiety, as well as excitement. I didn’t know what was in store for my training tomorrow, as well as the dangerous situations I might be put in. But this was ultimately what I wanted, to truly be apart of BlueEarth in a significant way. And with that in mind, I slowly began to drift off to sleep.
After awaking the following morning, I immediately realized that I had not had any disturbing dreams throughout the night. It seemed that I slept quite peacefully, and I felt energized. I peered out my window to take a peek at the tree I would be leaping to, in a very short amount of time. And while taking a look outside, I noticed it was fairly cloudy. “Dang, the last thing I want is it to rain.” I thought to myself, looking up at the clouds. I didn’t want to be drenched in rain while going through my training, but it wasn’t that big of a deal, for my motivation could have probably carried me through the worst of weather at this moment. I brushed my teeth, and got all washed up for the day. I threw on a thick, blue sweatshirt, and my favorite pair of grey sweat pants. It felt chilly out – from the air that crept through my windows, but at the same time I wanted to dress comfortably since I assumed I’d be on the move quite a bit today.
After throwing on my outfit for the day, I sat down to eat a quick bowl of cereal. Both my parents were sitting at the table, my mother, preparing to head out to go shopping; was already bundled up in a jacket ready to go. “Have you started on your project yet Towaile?” She asked, as I began quickly eating my cereal. “Not yet” I said, “I figured I’d eat something first before starting, I don’t want to stop until I’m finished.” I continued, flat out lying once again. My mom was soon to arise from the table and make her way out the door, but only after giving both my father and I a light kiss on the forehead. I cringed from the awkwardness and made my way back upstairs to my room, locking the door behind me. “Time to get going.” I thought to myself. I quickly turned on my music and set the volume full blast, and dragged a large backpack from out of my closet. I felt I would probably need it for most of the gear I’d be getting. I threw the backpack on my back and lifted open my window, glaring at the tree I was ready to leap for.
The thought of missing the branch was terrifying alone. I was foolish enough to look down, and that’s really when the fear settled in. I quickly reminded myself that I wasn’t even that high up; and something came over me that made me believe, that, if I were to fall, there was a good chance I wouldn’t get hurt – which, in reality, is extremely false. Despite this, I hopped on top of my window seal, kneeling in an extremely uncomfortable position. Hands sweaty, I gripped onto the edge of the window seal tightly and looked back at my door, and then started back at the tree. I closed my eyes for a split second, and just as I re-opened them, I made the leap. I pushed with my legs, and all their might, violently off the window seal, which gave me a great boost. As my entire body left the window seal, I extended my arms outward, eyes on the branch that I hoped to grasp. I reached for the branch, and it only took me a second to realize…that I was only a tad to far to reach it. Instead, I fell straight down into the trees branches, until I luckily, caught hold of a thinner branch. It was thin, but sturdy, and it helped break my fall. The sharp edges of it sliced through my hands, a giant cut was made going down my right hand palm. I hung onto the branch for just a moment, until I caught glimpse of a much thicker one below. At that moment, I let go, and allowed myself to catch onto the thicker branch below me. I landed right on my feet, the correct way. I stood up fully after I landed and put my left hand against the tree to keep balanced. I took a look at my right hand, as blood began to ooze out of the long and thin cut that was created only seconds ago. The rest of the way down was easy, for I didn’t have to leap a far distance to be caught by another sturdy branch, instead, I simply jumped down, on to another until I made my way back onto flat land again – on the side of my house.
As I begun to put pressure on my wound, I began to think as to how I would get to the cul-de-sac without being seen. I quickly cut through several backyards that I lived next-door too, and dashed across the street with my hood up, towards the cul-de-sac road. The entrance to the woods that led to BlueEarth was now in sight, and a sudden feeling of excitement came over me. “I finally snuck out!” I squealed to myself. I quickly made my way into the entrance of the woods and carefully made my way down the steep hill. After making my way to the large fallen tree, I made my way over it quite quickly, and began to dash straight forward with my head pointed towards the ground. For some reason, I had always felt the need to look in any direction but straight forward when making my entrance to BlueEarth. I suppose because I always feared that the entrance would not be there, but there had always been something that would distract me from that intention either way. After about thirty seconds of running, still putting pressure against my wound, I noticed the bright sun had begun to make its way through the trees. This was odd, because Wudwurn had a sky drenched in clouds, and now it had seemed, from gazing above, that not a single cloud was in the sky. I smiled as I felt I had finally made my way into BlueEarth. I kept running forward as the ground began to spiral and turn; until my sprint was cut short as a stern voice from my right was heard.
“Hold it!” I stopped in my tracks the moment I heard the voice, and from the corner of my eye, came an arrow, flying only inches from my cheek, ending it’s soaring by piercing up against a nearby tree. Stunned, I turned to my right to see who shot this arrow, so closely. Too my surprise, it was Lance, Bow & Arrow out, and all. He gave me a cocky grin before making his way towards me. “You could have killed me Lance!” I shouted, still a bit stunned. Lance chuckled calmly, “Generally those who do not obey my commands do end up being seriously injured.” He replied boastfully pulling the arrow out of the tree bark, “I have been given strict orders by Lady Clarity to escort you to the armory to pickup your gear. After that, we will train within the premises of the Witches Woods.” Lance explained as he looked at me confidently. “Very well!” I said, “Show me the way.”
We both soon made our way off to the Witches Woods – it was East-South of the entrance to BlueEarth. As we made our way, I couldn’t help but notice how many of the houses began to look much more run down, and shack-like than the ones within the middle of town, or even near the entrance. As we made our way closer to the destination, and strong eerie feeling grew over me – as everything began to get much colder; I slid my hands into my pockets to keep warm. After roughly twenty minutes of walking, we had finally arrived. “Here we are Towaile! Now please, stay close until we reach the armory!” Lance demanded, sounding much more serious now. I nodded and we made our way into the woods. The trees that stood in these woods were bare, unlike every other tree that stood in BlueEarth – covered with vibrant leaves, glowing with life; these were leafless, colorless, lifeless to say the least, but they were tall. They towered over the sky, all clinging to each other, which did a great job at blocking out the sunlight. It began to darken greatly as we made our way further through the woods; it was foggy in some spots, just overall spooky. I managed to make out what seemed to be a large hut in the distance. “What is that hut over there Lance?” I asked curiously. “It’s the armory, quickly! Time is of the essence!” Lance replied, as he began to sprint towards the armory.
My spirit picked up once again, and I followed him quickly. We made our way to the armory; I couldn’t help but notice many other huts came into view nearby, these in which were much smaller. “You must go inside to retrieve your gear alone I’m afraid, Clarity’s orders.” Lance stated as he put is hand on my shoulder. I was a bit confused as to why Clarity would want me to be alone when retrieving the gear. I was very nervous, but I made my way towards the door of the armory, as I walked up a long boardwalk. After reaching the door, I turned back and glanced at Lance. He nodded, “I will be waiting right here!” He announced. “Alright” I said calmly, as I opened the door. It creaked loudly and the smell of firewood began to infiltrate my nose. It made me feel much more nervous, but despite this, I still made my way inside.
Upon making my way inside, the first thing I noticed was how warm and cozy it felt. It was a pretty small place, but it had its way of feeling very hospital. Various weapons and armored suits – hung neatly on the wall. I made my way up a hall, which held all of these various types of gear, until I came into a very small room with a front desk. Behind the desk hung even more types of weapons; guns, bows, arrows, swords, throwing stars, knives, you name it. It was a weapon masters dream – compacted into maybe, a nine-foot room. There was no one behind the desk; however, I noticed a transparent purple blanket that hung from a doorway; which covered a room not too far from the desk. “Is anybody here!?” I asked, raising my voice. I noticed a silver-ringing bell that sat on top of the desk; I hesitated, but eventually decided to ring it a few times. After about the third ring, I noticed a strange moving that took place behind the purple curtain. A silhouette of a women could be seen from behind the blanket, following a pale arm, which could be seen reaching around the blanket moving it out of the way as she made her way into the room.
The woman was as pale as one could be, with silky long black hair, and a long pointy nose. She slowly made her way to the front desk, arching her back as she walked. “How may I help you?” she asked in a shaky tone. Frightened by her looks, my heart rate began to pickup abnormally fast. “M-My name is Towaile, I’m here to pickup an order that the Goddess of Summer put in for me just yesterday” I explained to her nervously. The lady began to chuckle which eventually turned into a short, yet loud and screeching laugh, “The Goddess of Summer eh? Well…just let me check my papers here.” She said as she turned around and began skimming through a large dusty booklet. “Ahh yes, here we are, Towaile!” She confirmed. “Say’s here that a special made Bow & Arrow has arrived for you at 3:53am just last night, give me just one moment to dig it out from the back.” The woman confirmed as she made her way out of the room, disappearing behind the curtain once again. After her departure I peered around the small room once again. The entire building as a whole gave off a strange aura, a feeling that began to rise unsettlingly.
It wasn’t long until I heard a loud tinkering and shifting noise coming from behind the curtain where the woman left the room. It was she, this time with something in her hands. I peered down only to see big square, metal-shaped item within both of her hands. It seemed heavy by the look of it; the way she quickly carried it to the front desk, and set it down with a noisy bang. “Well! Here it is!” She woman exclaimed as she slid the box closer to me from on the desk. “What’s this?” I asked confused as to what was being presented in front of me. “Don’t be ridiculous child! It’s your bow & arrow, sleeping!” The woman explained, beginning to look frustrated with me. “This Bow has been specially crafted, by Clarity’s request, it is unlike many others out there! Please experiment with it, and if you have any troubles, consult Lady Clarity, not me!” The woman hissed as she disappeared behind the curtain once again. I let out a sigh and picked up the large metallic box that was “apparently” my Bow, sitting upfront of me, as I then proceeded to leave the building.
Outside, I noticed Lance leaning up against a tree with his arms folded, head down, and eyes closed. It seemed like he was taking a quick snooze, but as I approached him further he lifted his head, and snapped out of it, so it seemed. “So! Did you get the arrow? Let’s see it!” He said as he approached me quickly. I lifted up the large metallic box to his face, “This, is apparently my Arrow.” I said to him in a disappointed tone. Lance burst out laughing, “Don’t be silly! It seems Lady Clarity would like you to awaken your own arrow!” He explained as he un-hooked his from his back carrier. “Every Bow, manufactured here in BlueEarth, usually comes that way by default. There is only one-way to awaken the arrow and it is up to the owner to figure that out”, Lance explained as he inspected his own Arrow.
“So what are you saying? Do I have to throw it around for a bit to see if it opens or something?” I asked jokingly, but at the same time confused and frustrated. “You never know, that just may do the trick!” Lance confirmed, as he took the box out of my hand. He began to inspect the box thoroughly, “Look here! On each side of the square there is a strange design, looks like the box itself.” He notified as he brought the box closer to his eyes, squinting in an odd fashion. “Let me take a look!” I demanded, as I grabbed the box out of his hand. I was beginning to get pretty impatient with the entire waiting process, besides, it was my bow, and I wanted to be the one to figure out how to awaken it. I inspected each of the four sides on the box. The design Lance noticed, and now I, seemed to be of the same box; however, on each side, the box was rotated to be standing on top of a different angle. I looked up and squinted at Lance for a split second, “The design is…ROTATING!” I blurted aloud excitingly. Lance began to chuckle, “What do you mean by rotating?” He asked, as he looked at me curiously, setting his own arrow down and folding his arms. “If you look at the design closely, it looks as if the box is turning on each of it’s side angles, a square has four angles, so it’s gotta be rotating!” I explained to him, jumping up and down. “Calm down now.” Lance said in a chuckling tone, “So what exactly do you purport we do? Spin it around on the ground?” He asked me curiously. “That won’t do the trick, you can’t spin a square on it angles, only on it’s sides.” I continued to explain, looking down at the ground, thinking.
I took a quick glance at the box in my hand, and immediately let my first instinct take over. I gripped the box tightly, with one hand and flung it up into the air, kind of in the same motion you would with a yo-yo, except upwards. Lance and I both glanced up, as the box spun around violently in the air. It made it’s way down quickly, and with a sudden clinking noise, it flung open quickly, right before my eyes. I panicked and hopped back, Lance leaped forward and held out his hands as what once was the box came dropping into his arms. And there it was, sparkling in black, silver, and gold all over; a bow of such great elegance, one would purport it to have been crafted by the goddesses themselves.
“Oh my goddess! Will you look at that!” Lance gasped as he handed it over to me. My eyes sparkled as I held it within my hands. The bow had a bit of heft to it, but wasn’t anything to major to hold. But it was thick, with different holes, and strings, slots, all sorts of extra necessities – which I hadn’t even begun to comprehend! The entire bow was about twenty inches in length, and about three inches thick; but somehow, still managed to not be that heavy despite it’s size. “Time is of the essence Towaile, are we simply going to gaze at the Bow all day? Or do you wish to learn the ways of an Archer? Lance questioned – this time peering at me with a very serious look. I nodded in agreement to begin my training. “Very well then!” Lance shouted.
Lance knelt down and took off his carrier, in much haste; he began to rustle through it, and quickly took out several arrows, placing them on the ground. “You’ll need these, toss them in your bag.” He commanded, throwing his carrier back on. I nodded once again and picked up the arrows, putting them all in my bag. Without thinking, I quickly lifted the bag with my injured hand and let out a groan. I began to put pressure on the injury once again to avoid it from bleeding continuously. “Problem?” Lance asked as he approached me closely. I embarrassingly explained to him about my accident earlier that morning. He let out a loud laugh, “Well then! You’re just writing the curriculum for me, aren’t you? We will start with tree climbing today!” Lance commanded, as he pointed up at the large towering pine trees around us. “Tree climbing?” I questioned curiously. “Of course dear boy! The tree navigation technique is a very important skill that all Archers of BlueEarth must learn!” Lance explained proudly. It was at this moment that my mind brought me back to when I first set foot into BlueEarth, when Lance and the other Archers confronted me from the trees above. I remember them moving in much swiftness through the trees; it was obvious to me now why they are the protectors of BlueEarth. “Of course, you are much to young to be taught to leap through trees, but today I will teach you how to climb them and properly get down.” Lance confirmed as he began walking to a nearby cedar tree.
He put his hands up against the tree, “Rule number one! Do not rely on your hands to carry you, or even guide you to the top!” I looked at him curiously, he sighed, “You eyes are your best muscle, keep your eyes pinpointed on your goal, and then dart with full force upward – as quickly as possible!” He exclaimed, as he in a flash, bolted up the tree to a nearby branch. “However! Never allow your hands to be flat against the tree!” Lance shouted from above. He made a curled fixation with his fingers with both hands, “Always make sure they’re like this, almost as if you’re trying to catch something mid-air! It will ensure better grasp, and overall less injury!” He continued, as he begun to rest on the branch from above. I nodded and grasped the tree and focused hard on the branch he was resting on. I stared at it for a good thirty seconds maybe, before I gathered all the power in my body and wildly darted up the tree, with great force. I lost a bit of focus after my hands clenched onto the branch, so my legs were left hanging. It was as if all energy was gone after the focus was broken. Lance began to laugh and pulled me up the rest of the way. “Not too bad! But remember, I won’t always be there to help you with the rest of your journey up! Focus, and finish your plate!” He scolded as he stood up from the branch.
“Now I shall show you the ideal method of getting back down.” Lance said as he made his way to the center of the tree. He clenched the tree once again, this time with his entire hand against it, yet still in the grasping motion. He leaped off the branch and quickly slid down the tree, feet and hands both tightly against the tree bark. He made his way back onto solid ground and dusted his hands off on his pants, boastfully. “See what did I there? He asked, staring up at me; “Make sure your entire body is tight against the tree, I don’t need you falling on your head!” He said jokingly. “Ha-ha-ha, very funny.” I replied sarcastically as I made my way to the center of the tree. Careful of my wound, I pressed my hands against the tree and clenched it with all my might. I leaped off the branch and quickly pushed my feet against the bark. I slid down slowly, unlike Lance, but still managed to make my way down to the ground without any injuries. “Not bad at all!” Lance commended, “However, I’d recommend not to do it all at once when making your way down; do it all in steps, just as quick as your body will allow you to do. First step being your hands against the tree, second step being one foot against the tree, following it up with your second foot.” He explained thoroughly as he patted me on the shoulder. I nodded, “Ok, thank you for that!” I said as I dusted my hands off on my pants.
“We shall now head deeper into the woods to practice archery! And I beg of you, please stay close!” He warned as he began walking. A little spooked, I nodded, but followed him closely, as we journeyed deeper into the woods. The fog grew thicker, and it began to become very difficult to see anything anymore than about twenty feet ahead of us. We passed many shacks, several of which Lance notified me of being homes of some of the witches. We continued to walk until there were no more shacks in sight. We stopped in an area where the fog was a bit less dense. Lance took out his arrow, I did the same. “Allow to me show you the main features of the Bow.” Lance said as he began to point out various features on my Bow. He went over the main grip area, and the necking point, the essential features that would allow me to properly launch an arrow. “Your sight window, just above the grip, is your main scope to a successful penetration! Always keep focused!” He explained. “Now it seems your bow has several strings and servings, this will allow you to launch multiple arrows at the same time, however, we will just focus on one for today.” He continued as he grabbed and arrow from out of my bag. “Now, with keeping in mind what I just told you, load it on up!” He demanded, handing me the arrow.
I pushed the back end of the arrow against the necking point and pulled back on the string, my bow, had a special resting place to keep the arrow, which enabled me to worry less about keeping the arrow in place and focus more on my aim. There was a switch just below the rest area that I would have to flick for the rest to contract back inside the slot; freeing the arrow from being held in place, allowing the string to send it flying. Lance pointed at a tree just head, “Aim for that one, let’s just see if you’re not blind as a bat!” He hissed, as he backed away to give me space. I kept focus, by keeping aim through the sight window on the bow; right when I felt I had my target locked, I flicked the switch. The arrow flew with such smoothness, and great force, piercing right into the tree! “Yes!” I shouted. Lance ran towards the tree to take a look at the arrow. “Impossible…” He whispered to himself. “What is it Lance?” I asked, as I put my bow down. “This arrow is roughly 8 inches deep into the tree, what great speed it must have been traveling at, what force!” He exclaimed, lifting his head, running back towards me with great excitement.
“Clarity must have had designed a different bow for a special reason.” Lance said, pondering. “What do you mean?” I asked curiously. Lance sighed, “Nothing at all, just me and my assumptions.” He said as he turned his back towards me. At this moment, I was sure he was hiding something from me; something he knew, and perhaps many others did as well. By this time, I was more than fed up with the secrets, and I wasn’t afraid to show it either. “I know you know something Lance!” I burst out loud; still wondering if I made the right choice to speak my mind. “I know both you and Clarity know something that I don’t. I knew something was strange the moment she agreed to have me begin training, and now I want to know the reason behind it.” I continued. By this time my voice was quieting down, but I still remained serious, and desperate for answers. “As a friend, and as my mentor, I trust you to tell me these things, I must know!” I pleaded, shaking his shoulder.
Lance turned towards me once again, this time with an even sterner look on his face. “Forgive me Clarity, but there is no way out of this one.” He said to himself under his breath, “I must ask you first Towaile, what month of the year is it? He asked, beginning to look at me with a smirk on his face. “It’s October, why?” I asked, confused as to where this was headed. “October yes!” Lance shouted, “The beginning of autumn, the death of all things!” He continued. I still was unsure where he was headed with this; yet, desperate for answers I continued to listen.
“ When you first took step into BlueEarth, Towaile, I know you noticed the beautiful trees and vibrant colors, the essence of autumn, but what was it all missing?” He asked, as he looked me square in the eye. I thought and thought, but I wasn’t sure. I remembered the trees and the bright colors; the cool air, the sunny afternoon skies, and the lovely breeze that blew through the trees and…- That’s when it hit me. The one characteristic of autumn - fall, which had been missing within BlueEarth, was the fallen leaves themselves! I looked up at Lance, “No fallen leaves.” I said quietly. Lance stood still for a moment before turning his back towards me once again. “Time here remains frozen Towaile.” My heart stopped for a split second after he spoke those words. To imagine that this entire time, I had been visiting a world that in a way runs parallel to my world, but at the exact same time, does not. “But how? But Why? How is that even possible?” I asked, begging for more answers.
“Thousands of years ago, when this world was created; great sages of this land sought to craft each season into a physical material, so that they could be manipulated and act within their own world. But something needed to be created; something that no matter what the season, no matter what day or what year, could stand almighty and strong, to house the power of such material. The Great Habituate was this housing of all the power. These physical manifestations of the Seasons were stored within four different Orbs, each one, housing the power and essence of a given season.” Lance explained thoroughly, as he paced back and fourth. “These sages were able to bestow this physical manifestation into the Goddesses ancestors; it runs in their blood, hence why they are the Goddesses, and have the power that they hold. They each are one with an Orb.” Lance continued explaining. It all began to make sense now, I was visiting a world that was truly separated from mine, a world that was perhaps hand crafted itself by an actual physical being. It was a bit much for my mind to handle, but I still had one more question that needed answers.
“So, what does this all have to do with me?” I questioned, seemingly disregarding everything else Lance just said. Lance sighed once again, “During the great Catastrophe that took place almost fourteen years ago; those Orbs were stolen, either sometime shortly before, or after the siege. So much fighting took place; I believe no one had even noticed they were gone. Ever since that night, time has stood still here; autumn ever since, never changing, leaves never falling, and the season cannot progress onto the next.” Extremely shocked as to what I was hearing it had all became clear now, “So Clarity wants me to find the Orbs?” I asked, jumping to conclusions. “Many believe that the one who had stolen the Orbs of seasons, is an outsider, someone from your world, earth.” Lance explained as he took out his Bow and began loading it with arrows. “Many others believe the Orbs to have been stolen by the people of Ales, hence the reason why we are – in a way, involved in a cold war with them.” He continued, firing his arrow at a nearby tree branch – landing the shot perfectly. “There are many things I do not know about Our Lady Clarity, however; I do feel that she believes that you may be a key figure in our search to find the Orbs of Seasons, however I feel you must discuss this with her.” Lance explained as he turned towards me once again.
“I see” I replied, still in shock from all that I had just been told. It felt odd, and sort of depressing at the same time, to think that I was being used in a way. But at the same time, I was being used in a special way; a way different from the protectors of the land. I was perhaps being used in a way to resolve almost all of the issues BlueEarth has had, to date. “Anyway, it’s getting late Towaile, let’s practice shooting a little bit more, and then call it a day.” Lance said as he put his hand on my shoulder. I nodded, yet still in deep thought about everything. “Lets try your bows – multiple arrow feature; seems like a technique that can be used for great advantage over your enemy.” Lance suggested. I held up my bow and began loading it with several arrows, my resting point could hold about a dozen. Struggling to hold them all into place for long, I quickly pointed my bow up facing the tree-covered sky. “Let it rain arrows!” Lance said with a smirk on his face. I pulled back on the string and released the resting switch as the arrows violently flew high up into the air. “Damn they travel fast!” Lance said; eyes locked up towards the sky. Our amazement was interrupted by a loud an eerie shouting which could be heard in the near distance.
Lance stared at me for a quick second, until we both heard something that froze us in our tracks. A loud hiss, that sounded like a snake; but with vocal chords could be heard behind a nearby tree. I turned my head, only to be in absolute shock as to what I turned to. Peering out from behind the tree was a woman, with long drooping black, and silky hair; so silky, it had looked to be drenched in water. She was wearing all black clothing, and had nails that looked to be 5 inches long. She let out a loud screeching hiss, and that wasn’t even what frightened me the most. As she opened her mouth to let out the hiss, I spotted teeth, longer than any teeth I had ever seen before. Lance turned towards me quickly in panic, “Run.” He said as he darted down the trail of the woods. I ran quickly behind him.
He quickly took out his bow and began firing multiple shots over his head – without even looking behind us. Eventually the hissing grew more faint, I was sure we had begun to outrun whatever creature we had just came across. It was a tiring running spree, until we finally reached the exit. The sun once again was beaming down upon our skin, yet dimmer, since sunset was near. I was out of breath. “You must return home now, Towaile!” Lance demanded, breathing heavily as he continued to look into the dark woods. “I must inform Clarity immediately about what we’ve just come across, go I say, GO!” he yelled, this time much more serious. Panicked, I nodded and quickly began following the path to the exit of BlueEarth, the entrance to my world. My mind was racing, still in shock from what I had just seen. I trembled in fear as I walked through the woods to reach my house. I quickly stuffed my Bow back into my bag and began darting my way towards home.
Scene II: To Rise from the Pines: Section III: Stones & Orbs
I had no trouble at all making my way back to WudWurn; especially as my mind kept picturing the horrifying creature we came across within the woods only a few minutes ago. As I finally made my way back home, I also had no trouble at all climbing up the Cedar Tree; which stood next to my window – for, all the tips and tricks Lance taught me earlier that day were being put to good use. I quickly made it to the top of the tree, and leaped for my window. I was successfully able to wrap both arms around the window seal; so about thirty percent of my body was inside of my room already. I quickly pushed my feet against the siding of the house, and forced my way in; as I landed with a thump on the bedroom floor. I was sort of surprised to notice that everything in my room was exactly how I left it. The music still remained playing loudly, my door still locked, everything in general was untouched. I smiled after noticing this, for I felt clever, and probably for the first real time in my life – sneaky.
Later on that night, I spent a considerable amount of time mending my wound to try to make it as invisible as possible so my parents would not start to question. If anything though, I felt like I had done an amazing job thus far going out and about behind their backs; yet at the same time, I felt bad. I also spent a lot of time that night pondering upon what Lance discussed to me about the stolen Orbs; I was still extremely curious as to if I played a role within finding them or not, which made me even more anxious to travel to BlueEarth the following day – and question Clarity about everything. However, that never ended up happening.
A sudden knocking began on my bedroom door. I leaped up from by bed where I was laying to unlock the door. My mother came walking in, “You haven’t left your room all day Towaile, how’s the project coming along?” She asked, staring down at my curiously. I quickly yet casually slid my injured hand into my pocket, “It’s coming along well, but I think I’m done for the night; I’ll finish the rest tomorrow.” I lied, casually. “Well keep in mind we have a family picnic tomorrow near the lake, we probably won’t be home until till around 7pm, so finish what you can tonight.” She noted as she left the room. I sighed. 7pm was a bit to late for me to travel to BlueEarth, and even though I could easily sneak out at night; I wasn’t sure if I was quite ready to mistakenly come across another one of those creatures again.
The picnic on Sunday went by slowly, and the entire day in general – even more slowly. I spent a lot of time thinking of how exactly I would bring up the stolen orbs without causing any sort of emotional disturbance, to Clarity. But on the other hand, if she had been expecting me to bring it up – I’m sure it wouldn’t matter at all. I still wasn’t sure if there was a connection between the stolen orbs and I or not, however, one thing remained certain; tomorrow was my day to find out, once and for all.
By Monday morning, I had already made sure that my bag was ready to go, for I was set on leaving to BlueEarth right after I stopped at home after school. As I mentioned before, stopping at home was a must, mainly so my parents wouldn’t go out looking for me after noticing my school bus had already passed our house. Besides, now I was fully set on leaving from my bedroom window every afternoon. For two reasons mainly, the first being that I didn’t have to tell my parents I would be leaving the house, and the second being that they wouldn’t know that I had left the house. It was the best form of escape I could possibly ask for. I anxiously hopped on the bus that morning, ready to get the school day done and over with.
Shortly after finding an empty seat, Amy got up from hers and took a seat next to me. “Hey! Are you doing anything for Halloween tonight?” She whispered loudly, leaning over from her seat. I had completely forgotten that tonight was Halloween, my parents would have expected me to be out later than usual anyway, so at this moment I quickly came up with another lie; one that would ensure me a much more guaranteed successful night out late, without having to worry about my parents worrying or wondering where I was.
During the entire school day, the halls were packed with talk of Halloween, trick or treating, and the various parties that would be attended. As much as I enjoyed the holiday, I knew I had something much more important to deal with today; and besides, I was almost certain that the people of BlueEarth did not celebrate such a holiday anyway. It seemed by the end of the day, I was asked what I was doing for Halloween over a hundred times; at that point, it wouldn’t have mattered to me what I was doing, just as long as I were no longer at school – I would be satisfied. I rushed home right after school, my dad was busy working in the garage, and my mom was nowhere to be seen; more than likely out and about running errands or still at work for the day. I dashed up to my room and threw on my backpack with both my bow and arrows stuffed inside, but something didn’t feel right. I quickly took off my bag as soon as I threw it on, and unzipped the main pocket. I noticed that my bow had contracted back into the square box it had been in before I first awoken it. I was almost certain that if I were to leave it idle for a certain amount of time, it would go back into this form, however; I hadn’t realized this happened the day prior. I shrugged it off and threw the bag back over my back and ran downstairs, back out to the garage.
“I’m heading to a Halloween party at a friends house.” I lied to my dad, anxious to take my sneaky route into BlueEarth. “What time are you planning to be back?” He asked, lifting his head up from whatever he was working on; it looked like a pile of mechanical metal parts, could’ve been anything. “I should be back by 10pm.” I said, quickly coming up with a random number. It was already 4pm, however I felt six hours was more than enough time to spend in BlueEarth – to ask a couple questions to Clarity. “Alright have fun!” my dad said, I nodded and dashed off towards the street I used to cut through several backyards to make my entrance into the woods.
I quickly ran through two or three backyards to avoid being spotted. As soon as I entered the woods, I took off my bag and took out my bow – which was of course; still in it’s sleeping form at the time. I spun it around in the air and caught it quickly as it opened-up into it’s true, glistening form. Zipping up my bag once again, I began running for the fallen tree, this time around; I quickly climbed over it, and managed to do so without much effort at all. The rest of the path lengthened; I didn’t slow down as the ground began to twist and turn once again. I soon began to come across the dimly lit lampposts, and small houses that stood on each side of the paths. Children were outside playing once again, yet this time around their parents made no effort to pull them close. They all however, glared at me intensely as I ran by, in a big rush to reach the Sanctuary. My eyes lit up brightly as the golden dome came into view, sparkling brightly as the afternoon sun reflected strongly off of it.
At this moment, my heart knew no limit, I ran faster and faster as the Sanctuary came more into view; I was desperate for answers, and today was the day that I would finally aim to learn the full truth. I was also curious as to if they were thinking about my absence the previous day. As I stated earlier, Sunday was the first day since my arrival in BlueEarth, which I had not traveled into the town. Upon closing into the Sanctuary, I noticed a familiar someone having a conversation with another Archer – right outside of the entrance. It was Autumn, and she seemed to have been giving strict orders to this Archer. The Archer was in which fully covered in armor, from head to toe. “Stay close to the rest of the team! Lance will not tolerate any further disobedience! Do you understand?!” Autumn scolded loudly. The archer nodded and dashed off towards the center of town. I walked up to Autumn, pretending that I didn’t overhear the conversation she was just having. “Towaile! What a pleasant surprise to see your face again, how are things?”
She greeted, much more cheerfully this time around – I must say; as she stepped down from the entrance stairway. “I’m doing alright.” I replied in a rush, still anxious to talk to Clarity, “I need to speak with your sister, Clarity, right now, it’s pretty important.” “So you do! Allow me to escort you to her.” Autumn flung open the Sanctuary doors, and we quickly made our way inside. I made my way up the spiraling staircase in a rush, as Autumn did so as well. “My dear siiiiiissssterrrrrrr, Towaile would like to have a word with you!” She announced as we reached the top of the staircase. Shortly afterwards, I heard the opening of the doors to Clarity’s Chamber.
Clarity slowly peered out from behind the doors curiously until she saw me. She began to smile brightly and fully opened the doors. “Please, come in!” She said cheeringly, as she held the door open for me; I made my way inside, as Autumn followed behind me. “Do you mind Autumn? The boy wishes to speak with me.” “No it’s quite alright Clarity, she can stay.” I quickly interjected. Autumn turned towards me and smiled. “If you wish.” Clarity assured. “So then, what is it you wish to speak to me about this time?” Clarity asked as she made herself comfortable on her throne. I let out a deep breath, now quickly becoming nervous about my intentions to discuss the orbs with her in general. But that wasn’t about to stop me; I was too anxious, too curious, and at this point, seemingly too involved. “It’s about the Orbs of Seasons.” I said quickly, looking at the ground nervously.
It was silent for what seemed like several minutes, even though it only lasted for maybe ten seconds. Clarity’s expression sank, and it seemed like a sudden wave of sadness quickly washed over her. She let out a sigh, as she stood up from her throne, “So…he told you didn’t he?” I knew she was referring to Lance, and at that moment, I knew for sure Lance spoke to me about something I had no business knowing about; but even now, I knew it was too late to back down – so I continued to hunt for more answers. “Yes…he did. And please don’t punish him for it! Lance decided to be honest with me! Something I wish everyone here would be, from here on out!” I said, gradually raising my voice. It was quite hypocritical of me to say the least; for me to be speaking about honesty. For I was the one who had been telling lies regarding my whereabouts to my parents – even though I felt it was heavily justified.
Autumn folded her arms and let out a loud sigh, “So he told him about the Orbs, big deal! You don’t possibly believe this boy can do anything about this tragedy; he’s just a boy! He cannot make matters any worse, nor make them any better! Besides, every normal citizen of BlueEarth, knows about the incident that took place fourteens years ago anyway!” Autumn yelled, hissing at her sister. It was odd to see her in such rage, I wasn’t sure what exactly it was about my knowledge of the Orbs and the incident that made her so upset, but I knew it had to have been something I still had not yet come to know.
“I know I’m just a boy, I know I’m an outsider, I know, I know, I know!” I yelled to the both of them. “But if there’s anyway I can help find them, please, put me to the task!” I demanded, this time probably extremely over-stepping my boundaries, but it was now or never. Clarity slowly turned towards her sister, this time her face turning bright red, and then it happened. Almost out of nowhere; she began to sob, uncontrollably at that, and that was when I knew I had broke through, and at that exact moment; was the moment where my life truly began to change more than ever.
Tears were quickly pouring down Clarity’s face, as she turned towards her sister, “Don’t you see?! He could possibly be what we’ve been searching for this entire time, and here we are – just doubting him!” She yelled, still sobbing uncontrollably. Autumn sighed, and began to speak more gently towards her sobbing sister, “I know Clarity, but he’s just a-“ “Boy! I know!” Clarity hissed, interrupting her sister. Autumn looked down, it was obvious she had begun to feel her sister’s pain. “Our parents were killed, Autumn! Killed over some things they gave their entire life to protect! And now the Orbs, and them, are gone! It’s our number one goal to get them back!” Clarity spoke, trembling, beginning to sob even more.
My heart began to sink. To think their parents were murdered over the Orbs made me feel both terrible, and un-easy about bringing the entire thing up. “Clarity….Autumn, I’m so sorry.” I said, looking at them both. “Don’t be sorry Towaile, because you can help us!” Clarity assured as she began wiping the tears off her face. “All this time, Autumn, those visions you have been having could have been about Towaile this entire time!” Autumn had an uneasy look in her eyes; I knew she was deeply saddened as well, yet conflicted. “It is possible, the visions did only spoke of an outsider.” Autumn confirmed, as she seemed to be in deep thought. I however, was more confused than ever at this time, “What visions?” I asked anxiously, still being mindful of both Clarity and Autumn’s current emotional state. Clarity began wiping her eyes and stood up from her throne, “The Great Habituate has spoken too Autumn and I regarding an outsider, an outsider that will help to return the seasons cycle back to normal; to ultimately un-freeze time here. This person could be you.” Clarity announced as she put her hand on my shoulder.
My heart began to beat quickly. “We haven’t had outsiders enter out world in fourteen years, since the very night the orbs were stolen, and our dear parents were killed. I suppose there is a chance that the person the Great Habituate is hinting towards, is you, Towaile.” Autumn announced, as she approached both Clarity and I. “I know you are just a boy Towaile, but we must give it a shot, you must help us search for the orbs!” Clarity demanded, looking at me with great desperation. I nodded, for I knew this is what I wanted, and I now knew this was my calling. “But where do I start?” I asked, still confused as to where I would even begin looking. Clarity turned to Autumn, and Autumn turned to me, “The visions say that the first orb, will be found within the outsiders hometown, and the rest sleep somewhere within our world.” Autumn explained. “So then why not search for the other orbs now?” I asked, looking to the both of them for answers.
“You must understand Towaile, once a certain season takes it’s toll, the remaining orbs of the other seasons fall asleep, we have searched and searched, but we have no real way of tracking them!” Clarity explained. “So then how do you figure I will find the first orb within my world?” I asked, still confused, and becoming frustrated. “The orb that lies within your world must be of the Season Autumn! It must be!” Clarity exclaimed, “As to how you will the track the orb down, you shall use this!” Clarity quickly pulled out from her pocket a stone that dangled from a golden necklace.
The stone was sort of coned shaped, with a smooth, curved edge at the bottom. “This stone, was given to me by our Mother, it’s said to react with the orbs; while I haven’t noticed anything, this does not mean it will not react once it enters your world. Please keep it close, I have kept it hidden away within this Chamber until now.” Clarity said softly as she put the necklace around my neck – the stone now resting against my chest. I looked up only to see Autumn smiling brightly at me, “I am the only one who can harness the Autumn Orbs power, so please, be sure to bring it to me first if you are to find it!” She exclaimed glaring at Clarity. Clarity nodded, “This is true, each of us can only harness the orbs that relate to us.” Clarity agreed, looking back at me once again. “Go to your world now! And see if the stone reacts in anyway!” Autumn demanded. I nodded, “Thank you….for everything, I won’t let you guys down, I promise!” I assured as I dashed out of the Chamber.
In a rush to return back to WudWurn, and begin my search for the Autumn Orb; I ran in a hurry throughout the town, staring down at the stone every few seconds or so to make sure it was still intact. And it wasn’t until I came near the path that led to the Witches Woods – that I halted to a violent stop. A sudden blue glowing, dim, yet bright enough to be noticed within the setting sun caught my eyes, from below. As I looked down, my heart rapidly sped up to a speed it had never reached before. In front of my very eyes, was the glowing of stone.
“There’s no way, but how?” I thought to myself as I glared down at the stone, making sure I wasn’t imagining it glowing. I looked up, and glared directly into the Witches Woods. Something there was calling me, and not just me, but the stone as well. “The Autumn Orb…it must be in there!” I said in a whisper, though, not a single person was around to witness what was happening right before my eyes. I quickly began to remember the creature Lance and I came across, and how dangerous those woods were in general. I took out my bow, and began heading in that direction, for the Autumn Orb was calling.
Section III: Prologues, Scene I Witches & Whereabouts
After several seconds of hesitation, I managed to gather up every ounce of courage in my body, and quickly made my way into the woods. I had no clue as to where I was going, and had nothing to guide my way through the darkness; other than the lightly glowing stone that dangled against my chest. The further I made my way in, the darker it grew, and the thicker the trees had become -blocking out every ounce of sunlight. It wasn’t long until I came across something that caught my eye, something truly horrifying. The smell of smoke made it’s way into my nostrils. It started as a light smell; at first I thought something might have been cooking in one of the nearby huts that I had past, but I was soon to learn that was not the case.
I continued to walk, as the smell grew stronger, and just like that, it appeared. My eyes spotted a dark orange color in the far distance, it seemed to be dancing and moving rapidly. “Fire”, I thought to myself as I dashed towards the glowing flames in the dark woods. The flames seemed to be growing brighter and taller the closer I came to them. It wasn’t long until I came to a complete halt, stunned by what I saw. There were woman, maybe about five or six of them; dressed in long, shadowy, black robes – surrounding the fire, heads bowed, and hands connected. The moment I caught glimpse of them, my heart began to race. “They must be witches.” I thought to myself, holding my mouth. I looked down at Clarity’s stone, only to notice that it was glowing much more brightly than before. My first thought was – maybe they had the Orb; but as I inched away from them, too avoid being spotted, the orb began to glow much brighter.
I continued to inch backwards and around them until something caught way of my feet from behind me – as I crashed to the ground. I quickly examined what I tripped over, as from first feel, I would’ve guessed it to be a log or a tree branch of some sort – but I would have guessed wrong. For what I had tripped over put me into a noisy panic. It was a body. But not any ordinary body, and I knew this based on first glance. It lay there; it’s thin, long, black hair spread out on the ground, eyes balled out, wide open, and mouth as well – which gave off an overall shocking expression to the face. But, there was something much more noticeable, much more frightening than all of that. And that of which were it’s teeth, they were long, yet thin; and several seemed to grow out from another, layers and layers of teeth. And that’s when I knew, this was the creature Lance and I came across. I got up in a scramble expecting it to lunge at me, but it didn’t take long for me to notice that it lay there dead.
I quickly looked up towards the woman surrounding the fire, just in time to catch one of the women look up to notice me. She let out a loud hiss, her lips, dark as the night sky. I dashed further down the path to get away from them, now in search of the armory for protection. “Don’t you dare run from us! Outsider!”, I heard one of them hiss as I dashed off down the path. Still on the run, I looked down at the stone once again to notice it shining even more brightly, this time; it gave off a blinding glow. The armory was now in reach, and I quickly made my way inside. Upon making my way inside I let out a sigh of relief, hands on my knees. I made my way up to the counter, only to notice no one was there. I noticed a silver service bell further down the counter. I rushed to it quickly and began to ring it excessively. “Anyone here??!!” I yelled, still in somewhat of a panic from all that had just happened. I looked down at the stone once again, but this time had to turn away due to how brightly it was shining.
A few moments passed until I heard a quiet rustling coming from the room behind the counter, which was covered by the same purple curtain that I had noticed last time. It began to sway lightly; I noticed a hand slowly grasp the edge of the curtain, pushing it aside. Behind the curtain however, stood a different woman than that was present from my last visit. This woman’s face was covered with piercing’s, with several necklaces and pendant’s around her neck. She wore a black turban around her head – which gave her an overall mysterious look. She slowly walked toward the front of the counter, eyes fixed on the glowing stone around my neck.
She squinted, as she got closer; more than likely because of the strong luminance the stone was giving off. In a flash she peered up at me, “What brings you hear my dear?” she spoke softly. “The Witches!” I said in a panic, “They’re after me, I really don’t know why! They’re conducting some ceremony not to far from here; I fear they are still on the lookout for me. This stone led me into the woods, I know whatever it’s picking up is close by!” The woman broke out a light smile, “You’ve come to the right place.” She said as she came around the corner. “I have been waiting for you for a long time, my dear.” She spoke mysteriously. I had no idea what she meant; I’ve never seen this lady once in my life. “We’ve all been waiting for you for a long time. Come, I can give you the answers that you seek!” She said as she quickly made her way behind the curtain. I hesitated for a second, but I knew this woman knew something that I did not. And even if she could help me in the slightest in finding the Autumn Orb – I was all for it.
I made my way behind the curtain, and to my surprise it led to a very small room. The walls decorated with animal skin, odd statues, and pendants, bottles and weapons, things of all sorts. In the center of the room stood a small round table, with two seats, one on each side. On the table in the dead center, stood a crystal ball, glowing with an odd midst from inside of it. “What’s a place like this doing inside of an Armory?” I thought to myself. “I know you may be a bit confused as to why I brought you back here, young one.” The woman said as she took a seat at the table. “Allow me to explain a bit about myself. My name is Serena, and I am BlueEarth’s fortuneteller! And this, is my Sanctuary!” My eyes widened, “The stone led me here? But, why? How?” I asked, now in total confusion. “The Season Orbs are not the only thing the stone reacts to, my dear. But of course, The Goddesses do not know this.” Serena spoke mysteriously, as she gazed into her crystal ball. “Sit, my dear.” She demanded pointing towards the seat across from her.
I quickly took a seat, now becoming a bit unnerved, as the room held an overall eerie feeling. “Relax my dear, the stone has brought you the right place, and now we shall find the answers you seek!” She assured as she gripped my hand tightly. The stone was glowing extremely brightly now, and it was at that moment where I finally came to the realization that the stone was attracted to the crystal ball, this entire time. Serena began circling one hand around the crystal ball, the other still hanging on tightly to mine. She began to speak in a strange tongue, her overall tone gradually became louder, and eyes strongly fixed on the crystal ball.
The mist within the ball began to clear to a bright white color, she began to speak, eyes now closing, “Towaile, is it?” she asked. “Yes, that’s correct.” I confirmed, feeling even more nervous now. “Hmmmm, so it seems you are indeed the outsider to BlueEarth that everyone has been speaking of. I see the stone was given to you by our lady Clarity, she trusts you greatly with it. She worries in fear that danger will come to you, yet she has faith that you will pull through.” I sat frozen in the chair, both hands now sweating, yet; I sat amazed from the ability I was witnessing right before my eyes. “Your task, as well as desire – is to find the Autumn Orb, which lies in your world.” Serena spoke, eyes still shut. She began to wave her hand around the crystal ball once again; it now began to shift to a more bright green color. I squinted my eyes due to the brightness. “Ahh yes, here we are!” Serena exclaimed, “I see a fields 2 and 3; they lie within the perimeter of Woodwurn, the home of the outsider. The Orb lies asleep at the center of these fields.” I jolted in excitement, “You can see the stone?” I asked. “Hush young one!” Serena demanded. “I see something dangerous as well, it is faint, but it protects the Orb, and will do all it can to see that the Orb stays put!”
I began to think long and hard, “Fields 2 and 3. I’ve never seen them before.” I thought to myself. Suddenly, a loud banging interrupted us both, which could be heard from the outside walls of the armory, followed by several loud, and screeching laughs. I got up quickly, forcing Serena to let go of my hand. She cursed, “You fool, you broke my concentration!” she hissed as she slowly got up. “Serena, it’s the Witches! We have to get out of here before they come inside!” The odd smell of smoke began to appear before I could notice it coming from the walls around us. “They’re going to set the place on fire! We have to move!” I yelled in panic. Serena grabbed hold on my wrist, “Listen, it is all up to you to find the Orb, you must bring it back to Clarity the moment you find it, everything is in your hands now!” She spoke softly, staring at me directly in the eyes. I nodded.
Flames began to seer through the walls of the room we were in, and the laughing of the Witches outside grew louder. “I must stay here and guard the armory, you head back to your homeland immediately, it is not safe here!” Serena commanded. I took out my bow from my bag and quickly spun it around in the air, awakening it. I made a lighting run for it – out the armory; and noticed the Witches were behind the building, I made safe distance before looking back to see the entire building engulfed in flames. “Serena..” I thought to myself. I prayed she was safe, but at the same time I knew I had to return to Wudwurn to pinpoint the location of Fields 2 and 3.
Suddenly, out of nowhere a bright orange light crashed into the ground – right next to me, knocking me back. I hit the ground hard, but managed to get back up without much trouble. I immediately knew a Witch had casted some sort of spell at me, but missed. I heard the laughing in the distance. Suddenly, I heard what sounded like footsteps coming up behind me, and upon turning around, my eyes caught glimpse of twenty to thirty archers; all of which dashing towards the armory. I noticed the one from earlier that Autumn had scolded, completely drenched in armor from head to toe; this archer quickly began firing multiple arrows at the Witches, heading straight into the heat of battle, I was in awe. “Towaile!” I heard a voice call from behind me, I turned my head, it was Lance. “I don’t know what in the world you were thinking to come to such a dangerous place, but you must leave immediately! Return to your world, now! That’s an order!” Without hesitation I nodded, and dashed towards the exit of the woods, still looking back at all the archers running towards the flame-engulfed building, which was once an armory, and home to a fortuneteller.
Though my mind was still worrying about Serena’s well being, I knew I had too focus on the whereabouts of Fields 2 and 3. I figured I’d search it on the web upon returning home, it was my only hope left to finding the Orb really; and I knew now I was closer than anyone has ever been in all of BlueEarth history. Upon exiting the woods, I noticed many citizens standing outside their homes with weapons in hand, “You shouldn’t be out and about at this time, boy, it’s not safe!” one of them called out, “That’s right, head on home!” Called another. I knew it had to be because of the Witches. Without hesitation I made my way towards the exit of BlueEarth and the entrance to my world, now anxious to return home.
Section III: Prologues, Scene II: The Leviathan
I returned home late that night, around midnight to be exact. I knew it would be too risky to sneak back inside through my window, for it was Halloween; and I expected my parents to still be awake from the possibility of servicing the last minute trick-or-treaters. I entered the garage door code, and made my way into the house. Both my parents lay bundled on the couch – watching some horror movie. I heard the screams, and saw the flashes coming from the TV. I tried to block it all out; I had enough panic and freight for one night, and something deep inside me, told me tomorrow would bring much of the same.
“You’re home late Towaile, have a good time at the party?” My mother asked as she lifted her head up from the arm of the couch. “Wasn’t as fun as I’d thought it would be” I answered, once again contributing to the lies I had made earlier. My dad began sniffing the air, almost as if he could smell a fresh home cooked meals scent – traveling up his nostrils. “I smell smoke; have you been smoking Towaile?!” He blurted, jumping to conclusions. I had completely forgotten about the possible strong scent of smoke from the fire at the armory, that could have lingered on me, and here I was being reminded. “N-No, there were…a lot of smokers there! Plus, a smoke machine!” I lied in a scatter, “I swear, I didn’t smoke, dad.” I confirmed honestly. “Well, alright, I trust you know better than that.” He said, as he began to focus on the movie once more.
I kicked off my shoes, and quickly made my way upstairs to my room, still anxious to discover the exact location of Fields 2 and 3. I locked the door behind me, and flung open my laptop. I opened my search engine and filled it in with ‘Wudwurn Fields 2 & 3’, upon hitting enter; I was excited as to what I saw. The location was approximately one mile from my house, and roughly 6 blocks away from where I lived. The overall premise and street was familiar; I knew I had past by it several times, however, I had never noticed fields of any sort. “Tomorrow this is where we go,” I said quietly as I pulled the stone out of my pocket. The stone had completely stopped glimmering. I hoped tomorrow it would help me in my search once again, but the most important thing I needed to worry about at this moment, was sleep. I unlocked my door, un-dressed, and quickly crawled into bed, drifting off quickly to sleep.
The following morning, I awoke late in a panic, only to realize that there was no school this Tuesday – due to parent teacher conferences. I made my way downstairs only to notice both of my parents were nowhere to be found, I figured they both left off to conferences and decided to let me sleep in. Generally, I would have been concerned about them going off to conferences; I had always been quite nervous as to what my teachers had to say about me, but at this time, my focus was on finding the Autumn Orb. Today was the first of November, and I knew winter here was soon to arrive, and how wonderful it would be, to be able to return the natural seasonal cycle to BlueEarth, for them to experience winter for the first time in fourteen years. It motivated me even more to find the Orb.
I ate breakfast quickly, and gathered my things. Since my parents were gone, I had no reason to sneak out my bedroom window, so I left through the garage instead. I took out the stone from inside my pants pocket and wore it around my neck once again; and began making my down to the street in which the fields apparently resided on. I noticed nothing out of the ordinary. Houses, much like in all other places in Wudwurn laid naturally spread out; cars and people traveled up and down the street. It wasn’t a street that I would have imagined an ancient orb to be hidden on, or within even.
I eventually made my way towards the end of the street and noticed a small park. I turned and made my way around the street from the north end. As I walked I noticed the trees began to grow thicker as the park began to fade the further down the street I walked, there was a woodsy like perimeter near the street, however – I couldn’t spot an entrance. I continued to walk until the trees were fully out of sight, and a small field came into view. It was covered in flowers of all sorts. “This is one of the fields?” I thought to myself. I exited the sidewalk and made my way up onto the small flowery field and noticed a man on his knees gardening in the nearby distance, he wore a sun-hat and gardening gloves – I assumed he was a park and rec worker. “He could surely tell me where I am!” I thought, as I rushed up to him.
I stood behind him; the man, completely absorbed into his work didn’t even realize I was near. “Excuse me, sir?” I said, hoping to get his attention. “Yes, how may I help you, young one?” The man replied, still gardening, back towards me. I thought it to be quite rude to not make eye contact, as well as to assume I was young, even though it was a lucky guess. “I’m looking for a Fields 2 and 3, do you know where I could find them? I asked, now in a hurry. The man lifted his head, and pointed straight ahead, I looked – I saw nothing but trees in the distance, but I figured he wouldn’t lie.
I thanked the man, and he responded with a feint “Be careful”, almost as if he knew I was up to something. I immediately became a bit intimidated about where I was heading, but now was not the time to chicken out. I dashed off towards the trees in the distance, only to notice a wooden sign that read, “Fields 2 & 3”; I quickly glanced down at my stone, and noticed it hadn’t begun glowing. I wondered if I were even in the right place. Upon getting closer to the trees in the distance, I noticed a path that connected into some small woods not too far off from me. I made my way inside in a rush, open to go anywhere – just to see if the stone would react. It wasn’t long until the end of the path was near, but by that time I knew I was getting closer.
Upon exiting the path, I now caught glimpse of a giant open brown grassy field in front of me, with a giant hill standing tall in the distance. I glanced down at the stone – to notice it still had not begun to glow. I continued to glance around. “The Orb sleeps in-between Fields 2 & 3.” I said to myself. It wasn’t long until I caught glimpse of another field, not too far off in the distance. This one however, seemed to be under construction; dirt was all dug up, and mountains of it lay all over the place, making it seemingly close too impossible to navigate. It was at that moment something told me to take a step back, and look carefully at the area that I had in which made my entrance in. I turned around back towards the path I had rushed through not too long ago, only to notice a large body of trees, which seemed to span out about a hundred yards.
It was at that moment, that I noticed the body of trees stood in the dead middle of the two fields. “This has to be it, but there’s gotta be another entrance!” I said to myself. I tried to peer through the trees, but they were too thick, I ran up and down the fields until I noticed another entry path, which seemed to go on further than the one I had traveled into prior. I quickly made my way inside, and that’s when it began to happen. The stone let out a feint cry, almost like a soft whistling, as began to glow dimly. “It’s in here!” I said aloud in excitement. It was at this moment, that I remembered what Serena had warned, about something dark and dangerous protecting the stone. I quickly took out my Bow and a few arrows. I awakened my bow, and began making my way further down the path.
Birds could be heard chirping happily from above. The trees did not cover the sky, and the feint sound of cars driving on the road from outside the woods could be heard; I knew for a fact then, that I was not in another world. I continued to walk until I caught notice of a bridge in the distance – I made my way onto it. From one end it gave view of the entire street, I noticed cars passing by slowly, and the houses that lay on the other side of the road. But there was something else I noticed. The bridge stood over the only opening of ground the path had, and the entire woods in general. A small stream, which opened up into a small pond, further in the distance, could be seen from the other side of the woods. Golden weeping willows, a rare sight to my eyes, could be seen drifting over the pond; reflecting from the water, just barely touching it.
There were other trees as well, all of various bright and vibrant colors – standing tall and strong around the pound. It was almost as if the entire season of autumn was bundled into this small area…and that’s when it hit me. I knew the orb had to be in here, but where? I looked around from the bridge to see if I could spot anything out of the ordinary hanging, or glowing from within the ground.
It wasn’t until I made my way off of the bridge, had I began to notice something strange. The stone began to glow even more brightly. I stopped in my tracks and made my way closer near the stream, which flowed beneath the bridge. The stone began to glow even brighter. I stepped into the stream and began searching the water frantically for a glowing orb, but no luck. I walked further down the stream, only to notice that the water was quickly rising up my legs, my pants were drenched up to my kneecaps, but that’s when I knew the stone was sensing something from the center of the pond.
I knew I had to make my way into the body of the pond, but I had never swum in pond water before; I had always thought of it to be extremely slimy, diseased filled, and full of duck feces. I sighed, and took off my shirt and shoes, throwing them on top of the bridge. I looked straight ahead at the center of the pond and sighed. I thought for a second, “I can’t lose this stone in the water, it’s my only beacon.” I said to myself. I quickly took off the stone and tied it around my bow. I figured I’d use it as a sort of flashlight under water to spot the Orb. I took a deep breath, and began to swim out towards the center of the pond, the shallow water immediately cut off after a few steps, and I knew at that moment I was in for a hell of a search.
I dove underwater and held out my bow, the stone began to glow extremely bright, and the echoing ring could be heard quite loud, even from under the water. I quickly began to swim deeper downwards, hoping to soon reach the bottom…but it hadn’t yet appeared; the stone gradually continued to glow brighter and brighter. I swam faster downwards, my ears – now beginning to hurt from the water pressure. My eyes were fixed on the glowing stone until something else caught my attention. Something that frightened me so deeply, the water immediately seemed to go from warm, to icy cold in a matter of seconds. A long and wide shadow could be seen swarming in circles not too far from me, I panicked and began to swim deeper, in a hurry to find the Orb.
It wasn’t until a loud and terrifying roar could be heard coming from below, my body froze. Everything was silent for maybe ten seconds following, until the shadowy creature came violently crashing into my left arm, knocking it out of its socket. In immense pain, I let myself free fall, deeper into the pond, the creature swarming around me once again. I held out my Bow with my right arm, in an attempt to catch view of the creature. I managed to catch glimpse of its mouth; it was long and wide, with teeth longer than tree branches. It soon came rushing for from above, mouth wide open. In a panic, I swam to the side to avoid it, it’s teeth just nicking the side of my stomach – but good enough to the point where my flesh was sliced open a few inches downwards.
Still free falling beneath the never ending depths of the pound, I held out my Bow; this time attempting to land the only loaded arrow in my bow, directly into the creatures’ mouth. It was quiet once again for a good thirty seconds; but I soon heard the sound of water pressure separating not too far from below me, I aimed my bow downwards, and shot the arrow in that direction. The creature came swarming upward, colliding mouth-on with the arrow as it stuck right into its throat. It let out several loud cries, that shook the entire pond, and began violently swarming downwards, “It could be headed for the orb!” I thought to myself. I began to trot after the creature; but it picked up speed, and began to swim even further downwards.
I kicked off and swam faster, until something else caught my eye. My body froze once again, but this time, not out of fear, but out of anything but fear; excitement, joy, happiness, relief, you name it. A dim orange glowing mist could be seen not too far in the distance, the stone around my bow glowing violently brighter with every inch I grew nearer to the midst. I cuffed my Bow in-between my left armpit, and reached out my right arm as I swam closer to the midst. And there, lying at the bottom of the pond in between Fields 2 & 3, was the key to the continuation of time within a world different from mine – The Autumn Orb.
Section III: Prologues, Scene III: The Blonde Haired Girl
I reached out and grabbed the Orb; it contained warmth to it – indescribable warmth. It had a smooth curve to it as well, which made it take the shape of a sphere, it beamed a bright, orange light from within it – lighting up the entire bottom of the pond. It was almost as if I held the setting sun within the very palm of my hand. Vexed by it’s beauty, I had completely forgotten about what I had faced only several seconds ago. The creature was nowhere to be found. I grasped the Orb tightly within my right hand, and kicked off from the bottom of the pond with my feet, now heading towards the surface. I felt it to be a bit strange that the creature was no longer around. It continued to swim straight downward, even as I swam after it; yet somehow, managed vanish within the thin water. I tried to not think about it too much, and within a few seconds, that was the last thing on my mind; as my adrenaline had begun to wear off, and the pain from my injuries began to kick in once again.
Upon reaching the surface, the pain was so immense; my entire body began to shake. I kicked my way over to the shallow end of the pond, and soon limped my way out – back onto the solid ground. I dropped onto my knees and cried out in pain. Usually, when you get an injury putting pressure against it would be a mere natural reaction. However, for me, with both a gash on the right side of my stomach, and a dislocated left arm; there was no way I could tend to both injuries with only one free hand. “I have to get back to BlueEarth” I said to myself, “There’s no way I can let my parents see me like this.” I unraveled the stone from my bow, and threw it around my neck – putting my bow back into my backpack. I used the left shoulder strap on my backpack as a sort of crutch for my left arm, using my right shoulder as a sort of beacon for the backpack. It was a ‘okay’ temporary solution, for what seemed like a permanent problem, but it had to do; at least until I made my way back into BlueEarth.
I grabbed my shirt off of the wooden rail of the bridge and stuffed it between the bottom of my right backpack strap; it pressed against my gash, both covering it, and putting pressure on the bleeding. I began to limp my way out of the woods, and back onto the street that would lead me towards the backyards I used to make my way into BlueEarths entrance. Cars passed by, and people stared, with a confused look on their face; a boy wearing no shirt, in fifty-degree weather was probably a crazy site to see. I prayed no one would be curious enough to stop and ask what was wrong; luckily, that didn’t occur.
Upon reaching the woods that led to BlueEarth, I carefully made my way down one of the side slopes; the fallen tree was in sight. I limped up to it, trying to figure out how exactly I would make my way over it. I took out my bow and fired an arrow into the peak of the fallen tree. The arrow pierced far enough into the bark, to the point where I could use it as a sort of crutch to make my way up. I grabbed hold of the middle of the arrow with my right hand; the orb, tucked against my shirt and wound. I kicked off of the ground, pulling with all my might. I made my way up with ease, but came crashing down onto the other side of the fallen tree, landing on top of my left shoulder. My left arm hit the ground hard and I let out another loud cry. I cursed as I slowly got up. The long path to BlueEarth was in sight, and as I walked, a sudden breeze began to pickup. The trees swayed violently; it was almost as if they were beaming down at the orb that lay against my shirt. I grabbed the orb and held it tightly in my hand.
At this moment, the pain began to kick in even more, and I began to feel sick, and sluggish. I staggered left and right down the cobblestone path, anxious for someone to come and find me, yet, there was no citizen to be found. Neither children, nor parents stood outside of their houses this day. I immediately became worried, with the thought that the Witches had perhaps savaged them the night prior; but that thought came to cease the moment I set eyes on the concoction that could be seen happening within the center of town. I began to limp faster, head spinning, and pain throbbing – into the center of BlueEarth. Minutes passed until I finally made my way into the location. A sort of feast was taking place in the middle of town. Large tables of all shapes were set nearby; and people conversing, dancing, and feasting in the sun. The moment they set eyes on me, they began to speak, whispering to each other, eyes balled out at what was being held within my hand.
I made my way further through the crowd, searching for an Archer, or one of the Goddesses to give the Orb to; and following to seek medical attention. It wasn’t until a sudden shock of pain came spiraling throughout my wound, on my stomach, did I crash violently to the ground. My head was spinning even more at this point, and I didn’t think I would be getting up anytime soon. “Bloody hell?! Had to much to drink did yeh?” Yelled a voice nearby. The sound of a man in armor could be heard running up to me. I knew he had to be an Archer, but it definitely wasn’t Lance. The man carried a strong Irish-like accent.
He helped me up, and cursed the moment he saw the blood leaking through my shirt. I looked up at him, and slowly slipped the Orb into my pocket. “Take me to Clarity, please!” I begged. “Clarity you say? Eh, no problem!” The man agreed, as he threw my right arm over his shoulder. The man rushed through the crowd, yelling “Clear out the way! Clear out the way ye drunks!” People moved to the side quickly once they noticed I was injured. I looked down to notice two things; the first in which the stone, which hung wrapped around my neck, was no longer glowing, and the second being the Autumn Orb which rested in my pocket, had now a held a glimmer of light which could barely be seen through my pocket.
It wasn’t long until we came up to a giant, long table – which extended out a good twenty yards. People on both sides sat feasting away. “Clarity, my lord!” The Archer yelled, “I have an injured lad here that needs you immediate assistance!” I looked up to notice at the end of the table, sat Clarity – watching over the feast. She quickly stood up once hearing the Archers request. Upon seeing me she rushed to us without hesitation, with the most worried look on her face. “Oh dear heavens, heavens no! Towaile!” She cried, now taking hold of my right arm. “What in the world happened?! We must get you help immediately!” She panicked. I looked at her in the eyes, “Clarity…” I said in a whisper as I reached into my pocket in a struggle to pull out the Autumn Orb.
I managed to get it out, and held it up slowly towards her, with a light, yet tired smile on my face. The citizens sitting at the table immediately caught glimpse of the Orb and began to gasp, all talking amongst each other. “Towaile…I…Autumn! Come quick!” Clarity yelled, losing her train of thought. Autumn came rushing to the side of us; she immediately caught sight of the Orb within my hand. “I don’t believe this, Impossible!” Autumn yelled in shock. “No my dear sister, it is true, he has found it!” Clarity replied shaking her sisters arm. “Call upon Lance immediately! And call upon the other archers to gather everyone at the Great Habituate.” Clarity continued in a rush. I held up the Orb to Autumn, “Here” I said, handing it over to her. “I know you were skeptical, but this is what you all need now. You can finally un-freeze time, I’m sorry…I.” I let out a breath and blacked out, mid-sentence, only to come back to consciousness while being lifted onto some strange doorsteps.
Clarity and the Archer had been giving each of my arms support, practically lifting me the entire time, so it seemed. We made our way up the doorsteps of some strange house. It was wooden, and looked old and run down. It stood in the center of town; the festivities could still be heard loudly from behind me. Clarity opened the door in a rush, and inside laid several beds, twins and bunk beds; a few of which seemed to contain other injured people whom lay fast asleep. They continued to carry me through several rooms; the house seemed to go on and on until we reached a much smaller room, with two bunk beds and a twin bed – all bunched up close to each other.
Now this is where the introduction to my story ends and where it all truly begins. For the moment we fully made our way into that room, was the moment where my life would change, a hundred times more rapidly, than of when I had first discovered BlueEarth. For lying on the bottom bunk, of the nearest a bunk bed rested a girl; a girl who pulsed the essence of beauty from her very heart, through the pores of her skin with every heartbeat. She lay there, fast asleep under some strange and mysterious spell. Her long, glimmering blonde hair, spread out across the bed; one would have believed it to be a quilt. Her skin was pale, but seemed to flicker to a darker shade, much like mine, in an impulse – but then return back to normal. Her arms lay spread out on the bed, with a giant ice patch covering her forehead. Clarity, and the Archer rushed me over to the twin bed nearest her, and set me down gently. My head hit the pillow, waiting there; and just like that, everything dimmed in a flash, as I drifted off into an unconscious, strange, sleep.