• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 05
Image by

The Rise

Ariel felt the energy, stirring him awake, before he became conscious of the light. Cold and exhausted from days of travel, across the terrain of Zenaya, avoiding the roads, eventually through the forest with other families, they had lain exhausted in the earth, under an umbrella of trees last night. In the cocoon of darkness, it was impossible for them to see what he was looking at, until now, the early morning. Around him, his family were still asleep, Dayna arched over their young sons, Anais and Amari. The fire that bathed them in its welcome, fiery warmth, was a pile of ashes and smouldering rocks. Shaking, Ariel rose upright, pulled the torn blanket securely around his shoulders, and began walking in his dirty, ragged feet, the light drawing him. There were no sounds. He felt as if he was the only soul on earth. No birds in flight. No movement. Nothing but the sound of his rapid, breathing and his shoes made from cloth, dragging through the grass and stones. The silence had a depth to it, holding him as if he were between time and space, and the emotions of love and wonder. The river they had navigated through thrashing, unyielding waterfalls, and curves, now lay quiet, sleeping oscillating waters. His eyes fixed on the mystical cliffs bathed in rays of transcalent jade beyond. He allowed the tears to run, filled with sorrow that his mother felled several weeks ago had not lived to witness this glory, after fleeing their land, overthrown by insurgents, who didn’t want descendants of the king or their tribes. Even the church in the mountains was no longer a sanctuary. They had destroyed it. Ariel pushed the bad memories temporarily to focus on the present. The scene in front of him was just like the dream he had. Every detail accurate. The water, the island, the portal between the two worlds. Ariel found himself wondering if it was, in fact, still a dream. His breath, circulating before him, and the wavering mists, reminded him this moment, and time, was reality. They were within reach of the kingdoms. They were safe.