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When I broke through the surface, I had expected her to be standing beside the water, ready to pull me up and show me something else spectacular. But, she was lying down on her back, looking up at the specks of mushrooms on the ceiling that looked like the starry night sky. She had a blank face and I couldn’t tell if the stream flowing from her eyes were tears or water.
I pulled myself out of the water and sat beside her, my feet hanging into the pool. The glow from the crystals were still brightly shining and creating a mystical effect beneath the water. I couldn’t help but think to myself how incredible she was and how tight my stomach felt at the sight of her so barren of emotion. In this way, anyway. Typically, from what I’ve gathered since being around her, she had a stealthy face. Hard to read, firm and soft all at once. Like there was a surprise waiting for you around each turn if you could just make it to the corner. But, now, she seemed numb. Broken. I didn’t like it one bit.

I wanted to say something, but I was tongue tied, thinking that anything I said would be the wrong thing to say. So, I kept quiet. Until, she asked me, “Where does a person’s heart go when someone has stolen it in the hopes that it would lead them to the salvation of an entire clan?”

“What an odd thing to ask.” I thought. Since I did not fully understand the question, I didn’t think it would be appropriate to try answering. So, I left my mouth shut and my eyes on hers as they stared into a veiled distance.

She turned to her side with a heavy breath. “Where does it go when that person throws the heart away because it couldn’t work the way they’d wanted it to?”

“Love?” I thought. “Is she talking about love?”

I wanted to say something but I couldn't find the words. As her body lie limp on the floor of the cave, I felt something in me sadden with her. I couldn't explain it or even understand it then, but something inside knew I had to be the one to ease her pain. But, how? If I couldn't at least find the words to say, how could I help? As that question crossed my mind, I felt a strong urge to do something entirely too vulnerable for me. In that moment, it felt like the right thing to do. So, I made a split second decision to lie down beside her.
I rested my hand on her shoulder and pulled her a bit so she would lie on her back. Then, before I could talk myself out of it, I took the spot next to her on the rocky ground. We didn’t touch, we didn’t move much and I tried my best not to make her uncomfortable with my awkward attempt at helping. Things felt tense for a minute. Until we started talking, anyway.

“Where are you from?” She asked softly. I could still feel her pain in every pitch of her voice and it ached in me.

“I was born in Caltanon,” I began. “But, I grew up in Klharym.”

“Is that why you were headed this direction when you fled from the-”

“Those Ryuan deserved what they got!” I knew I sounded angry. But, I just couldn’t help myself. I calmed myself with a short, deep breath and softened my voice immensely before speaking again. “I promise you, if you knew what they did…”

Before I could finish, she sat up in a sudden burst and interrupted me by saying, “You don’t have to explain. I don’t care what reasons you had for doing what you did. But you should always be proud of the things you do, Fire. And if you have any hint of doubt at all, it’s not something you should do.”

“I didn’t have to think about whether or not what I did was right.” I said, softly. I had truly accepted my own feelings on the matter. “It just was. After what happened.. After the things they had done… They all deserved to die. I only wish I could have finished them all off. But, I was weak.”

“Stop.” She said and turned her head to look at me. “I never want to hear you say that you are weak. Never again.”

I sat up and stared at her for what felt like several minutes. The shine in her eyes had returned, for the moment and I could feel my heart leap at the sight of them. Whenever she got that glint of silver in her eye, it was as if I could see a new world opening up on the other side of them. Something about this girl was just so different from the rest of the world. I was tongue tied, for that and many other reasons and all I could do was watch her give me that look of determined compassion.

She softened again, just a bit and gave a light sigh before speaking again. “Fire,” She began, but was cut off by the distant sound of an explosion as tiny bits of rock and dust fell from just above our heads. She flew to her feet effortlessly and I followed suit, but she was already making her way back up the falls before I could fully stand.
When I got myself back up, onto the platform under the falls, I quickly realized that I had no idea how to get myself back up. I called out to Suende, but she was already long gone. Panic began to rise within me as I searched around the rest of the room for an exit. I found nothing. I couldn’t get myself out. I couldn’t go help, I couldn’t go fight. Then, I realized that I was more afraid that I couldn’t protect her.

~~~

The cave floor rumbled as another explosion waved through, even louder and stronger this time. I held my footing until the blast was finished, then dove into the water again. I began to search the pool for a way out.
I had searched through at least a quarter of the crystals before another explosion finally came. I could feel that it was stronger than before, even as the water around me soaked up the majority of the shock. I still hadn’t found any sign of an exit and the blasts were getting louder, probably even closer. I remember thinking over and over again that I had to get up there with her. I had to fight! How could I with no way to get there?
Ready to give up searching, I caught a glimpse of a crystal with a pulsating glow rather than a continuous one. It was so well hidden, I had to squint while I swam toward it to get a better look. As I got closer, a couple more started doing the same. But, I stopped when the pulsing light crept across the entire bed of crystal in unison. Something wasn’t right. I could feel it.
I felt a hot stinging sensation on my neck and in my throat. The feeling was subtle, but obvious to me. Then, my heart dropped to my stomach as I realized, Suende’s power was beginning to wear off and I raced toward the surface emerging just in time to hear a faint scream.
The glow beneath me suddenly extinguished as my throat felt like it burst into flames. Thought it lasted only a few seconds, leaving a residue of sore thirst, the pain had been incredible. I didn't care, though. I had to get up there.
I felt a great, intense spark within me. My blood ran hot with surging  fury and my eyes flickered orange with dancing flames. I felt the water around me bubble up against my skin as I threw a concentrated blast of heat from the palm of my hand. I watched it leap the cave room and hit a giant mushroom cap on the other side of the pool. It’s top burst into flames and corroded beneath the embers causing melted, green pieces of the pink cap to fall to the floor below it. As the flames died down, what I had done began to hit me and my heart jolted with panicked joy. I had thrown fire from my own hands for the very first time and now I knew how to find my way out. I had a way to fight back.
I swam to the ledge and lifted myself out of the pool. I was ready to blast myself out of there when a crash came through the ceiling, throwing me back into the water. As I saw something entering the room, I decided to hide myself behind the platform under the falls and observe for a moment.
From the rubble, emerged a small, slender woman with green eyes that cut through the dusty cloud before her. She stepped forward, revealing herself in garb made of a silky, pale pink material. Her silvery, lavender hair was shaven on the right side of her head and on the left, was a waterfall braid that trailed to her mid-back and gathered together with a ribbon of gold near the end. Her top hung loosely over her breasts and slightly revealed the underside of them. Elegantly woven knots fell from the side of her top and gracefully flowed into a skirt that hung far down on her other hip and spilled down her legs in an uneven ripple. On her left arm and right leg were golden works of metal, intricately entangled, creating an impressive depiction of a heart as it beamed light across its horizon.
She scanned the room as two shadowy figures dropped in behind her and seemed to await her command. After a moment, she extended her right arm out in front of her and a faint beam of light raised about 4 inches from her palm. When it expanded slightly, she began to speak to it.

“Fairval,” She said. “I have taken down Polar Bear and Winged Wolf.”

The beam shifted and pulsated with a response, “Good girl. And what of Phoenix?”

She sighed as her brows lowered. “There’s no sign of Phoenix, your eminence.” I knew she was dangerous, but I couldn’t help but get the feeling that she didn’t want to be doing what she was at that moment.

“Well,” the voice boomed over every mushroom in the cave. “Find it. And destroy it!”

Her face became absent and cold. “As you wish,” She said distantly.

The beam shrank and lowered back into her palm. For a long moment, she stood there staring into the water. She looked worried and shrunken, as if she were in pain. Then, she gathered herself, took a deep breath and commanded for her companions to fan out and search.
Now that the dust had settled, I could see the figures that had come in behind her a little better. One of them were tall and very thin, with lean muscle that bulged slightly when he moved his arms. His hair was black with a pure, white strip that came from behind one of his pointed ears. It was mostly hidden by the rest of his hair, which began at medium length on his right side and shortened until the rest was simply shaven. He had a bow on his back but I saw no quiver or arrows and he had a strange tattoo up both of his arms. It looked tribal and exactly how I would imagine the wind to look. He reminded me of a nomad with the way he dressed as well as his all around presence.
The other figure was very large and had thick muscle. He wore the pelt of an animal around his waist, which was a thick, dark brown. His arms and legs had scars that looked like his prize had given them to him before falling to his hand. The same color of the bear-head he wore over his head, hiding not only his hair, but his face as well. He seemed to not have a weapon, but he didn’t need one to look like he could kill me. He reminded me of a dire wolf; powerful and large, but still graceful and very dangerous.
Each of them began to stalk about the cave on either side of the pool. Searching under mushroom caps and behind large, heavy rocks, they weren’t having much luck. Then, the thin one came to the spot Suende and I had been lying on ground and stopped to observe it. He looked around the room by shifting his eyes before returning to his search, leaving the spot behind.
I felt a small hint of relief untwist my stomach when he walked away from it, but then felt it return when my attention turned from him, back to the strange woman leading him. Her eyes pierced through the room straight into my own and my heart sank. Thinking I’d been caught, I didn’t know what to do from there. I was trapped.
She extended her arms out from her sides, breaking eye contact with me to look at her minions. A single mushroom on either side blinked once, grabbing both of their attention. The two of them looked back at their mistress and she brought her hands together fluidly.

“Well,” She said. “It looks as though we’ve got a snake in the water!”

My heart dropped even further and I backed up a little to put myself further under the platform above my head.

The woman chucked playfully, then said. “Oh come now, dear Phoenix! No point in hiding from me now! Zomeil! Fetch the traitor for me, would you?”

Then, the large figure turned in my direction, smiling crookedly, and heaved his leg up and stomped it to the ground. As he did so, a crystal from the bottom of the pool extended upward and pierced through the surface of the water just behind me. He tugged his arms backward in a pulling motion. I swam to the right just in time to dodge the crystal as it moved toward me, unhindered by the drag of the water or the other crystals in it’s path.

She let out a loud laugh. “Okay then,” she taunted. “Kinmi, it’s your turn.”

He took the bow from his back and slid his hand down the string with elegant, pale fingers. As his hand reached the middle, the air around the bow became visible and concentrated into a tightly formed wind tunnel in the shape of an arrow as he drew back the string.
I dove under as he released his grip and was lifted out of the pool when the arrow made contact with the water. He shot another arrow while I was suspended, but this one burst into an intricately woven net. It wrapped itself around me, tightly and I crashed back down to the wet abyss below.
Sinking quickly, I began to panic as I tried to wiggle myself free of the net, but it was no use. I couldn’t breathe or move. Still, I looked around. desperate to find something sharp to cut the ropes with. But, the darkness covered all but maybe a foot in front of him, which made the search quick and painful.
Just as I was about to give up, a light shown in the corner of my eye. I wiped my head around to find it and quickly realized it was a crystal, very small, but just visible enough for me to see. The color wasn’t the same as before, this time blinking in a dim, purple color. My heart lifted a little with the relief that Suende was alive and telling me so. But, I hastily lost excitement when I couldn’t hold my breath any longer and gasped my lungs full of water.

I felt arms around me, cold and comforting... And everything grew darker than the blackened water surrounding me.


~♥~


Suddenly, I was in a mansion, surrounded by ice and had no memory of how I got there. As I looked around, everything felt familiar, somehow, but I couldn't bring forth a single memory of being there.
The walls and pillars had layers upon layers of frost over them and each corner I'd turned was webbed with spikes of ice. The only thing that seemed untouched by the freeze-over was the floor, dressed in finely woven carpeting over marble that stretched to each and every corner of the place. Everything else, however, was bathed in a a rich blue-ish color and was cold as the whitened cap of the world.
I turned corner after corner, thinking I'd never find what I was looking for. I knew I wasn't searching for the exit but I couldn't figure out what exactly I had been looking for. And then, there she was, standing in the center of the ballroom in a slender, silvery dress that slit up her leg and closed at her upper thigh. Her radiant eyes luminescent under the light of the moon, which had been leaking in from the windowed dome above.

She gestured for me to come toward her and said, “It's not over, yet.”

I resisted the urge to swallow nervously at the sight of her and stepped in her direction, feeling the beating of my heart with every landing of my foot to the ground. She extended her hand for me to take it in my own and I reached to touch it. I felt my fingers touch her skin for the hair of a second, but my hand slipped right through hers with a ripple effect over her skin.
Something inside me dropped and I reached out again, this time the ripple was more intense. She, however, seemed oblivious to the fact that this was happening, smiling at me with dignified grace. I took a deep breath, trying to shake off my nerves. Then, I reached for her hand one more time. This time, I could feel her skin against mine for at least 30 second before my fingers fell through her again.

The ripple continued as her face changed to a terrified expression and she slipped “Don't give up...” from her tongue, then stiffened and shattered around me. As her pieces hit the floor, they burst into silvery-white dust. It sifted right through my fingers as I tried to pull her up and put her back together again, but my effort was to no avail.

Collapsed to my knees, I tilted my head back to look at the moon and as I did, it's silver light bled away and disappeared. Leaving nothing but a floating mass of dust behind, just the way she had a moment before.
I felt a tear escape my eye for the first time since I was a child. It burned down my cheek and dripped from my chin, landing directly on my hand where it met my wrist. When I saw it was bright, glowing orange and burrowing into me as it melted my skin, I felt my blood boil, then quickly burn out.

“What do you know?” I said under my breath to myself. “Useless without power, useless with it, too.”

Another tear fell over the other, but I no longer felt the pain. I simply sat there, alone, clutching shattered happiness in my very own hands and watching as it slipped silently through my fingers.


Every sound I heard around me was distorted as I coughed and gasped for air. The water in my lungs expelled itself from my body as my upper torso jolted off the ground a little with each cough. It stung my nose and burned my eyes, but as I gasped for air, the clouds over the world receded. I was alive. I was actually alive.
I stayed lying on the ground, catching my breath and watched the things around me come back into focus. Then, I remembered that there had been a break in to the cave and my heart thumped with fear as I rushed to my feet. Feeling dazed from the sudden movement, I stumbled a little, but quickly regathered myself just in time for a hand to reach out and grab my arm.
Panic flashed through my nerves and I turned in the direction from which I was touched, ready to strike. My fist came within inches of their face before I really saw who it was. I stopped, but my heart beat wildly in chest, aching with relief at the sight of her. Alive, right in front of me, holding my arm was Suende.

Her eyes were wide and she had a burn on her shoulder and claw marks across her chest. She grabbed my other arm and whispered, “We have to go, now.”

I felt a tear unwillingly fall from my eye as I nodded.

Something in her eyes shifted, making them look brighter. She slid her hand into mine and nodded back to me. We each turned and ran in through a dark tunnel that wasn't there before. As soon as we'd stepped through safely, the opening sealed itself behind as and what little light had come from it, faded away entirely.
Her leading the way, I ran with Suende through the darkness. Our feet hitting the rocky floor was a sound that echoed through, bouncing off of each wall. It wasn't long before I realized there were hallways conjoined with this one as the sound would travel differently on occasion. I began to think that I should start asking questions, but decided to hold them to myself until we were out of immediate danger.
The passageway slowly became dotted with glowing mushrooms here and there until finally they covered the walls entirely. I could see for the most part now, thanks to the soft glow lighting out way and I finally got to see down the connecting corridors.
At the end of each one, from there on at least, was a line of bars sectioning off a small portion of the hall. Some were empty and others had indistinct figures in them that I couldn't catch a good enough glimpse at while running. I wondered to myself if they had planned to put me in one of those cells or if there was something darker going on.
We finally came to the end of the passage where a thin, blue-ish looking door rested intimidatingly within a steel frame.

“This is it,” She said. “Once we're in here, we'll be totally safe for a while.”

I thought it best not to ask her any questions at that moment. She looked calm, but I could feel her panic. I didn't want to cause any more problems for her while she was in that state.
She made a diamond shape with her hands where the doorknob was missing, then tilted them slightly to the right. With a faint clicking noise, the door popped open slightly. Then, she turned to look at me. Her hand found its way back to mine and she gazed into my eyes with a serious power I'd never felt before.

“Fire,” she began. “I need you to not think too hard about this right now, okay? You weren't supposed to see any of this yet. But, I had no choice. I had to protect you.”

Fear blossomed inside of me as I wondered what terrible things were about to be shown to me. “What do you mean?” I asked.

She shook her head and I saw her shell crack as her pain slipped through. “I really need you to promise me this. Promise me you wont think about it. Just be here and don't think about it. Please. Can you do that?”

Unsure of the promise I was making, I nodded my head silently.

Turning toward the door, again, Suende gave a light push. The door opened and we both walked through the doorway together and allowed the door to close behind us.

~♥~
Suende (Pt. 4)
This is part four of my original story. I'm currently working on part 5 now that I've finally finished 4!
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“Tulil” I thought to myself. “That’s the word I saw on that door upstairs. So it’s a name. A name that belongs to a girl.”

“Well?” She prompted me to speak. “I asked you a question. What is your name? Who are you?”

I didn’t know what to say to her. I didn’t want to give any of them my name. I liked not leaving a real trace of myself here. So, I made a split second decision and hoped it would go no further; “You can call me Fire.” I said, watching her for some satisfied or irate reaction. But, she had neither. More of confusion.

“Fire?” She questioned. “That can’t be your real name. Is that really what you’d rather be addressed by here?” She swayed her hips and tilted her head. Almost like she was playing with me by asking.

“Yes. I’ll give no other name.” I said.

Her eyes were like two sharpened daggers, glinting silver and piercing right through me while a crooked smile crept over her lips. I didn’t know what, but there was something familiar about her, as well as something dangerous. For the moment, I knew I needed to keep as much distance between the two of us as possible. At least, until I could find my way out of there.
The look quickly faded from her face and she was normal again. She crossed the room and knelt down in front of me, locking her eyes with mine. Shavings of pure silver liquified in her eyes and glittered in the light of the torches as she dug her way into my mind.

Recoiling from me, she had a look of shock on her face when she said, “I can’t get through.”

“What do you mean, “get through?”” I asked, confused and irritated by what had just happened.

“N-nothing.” She said, staggering back into a cool and collected position. “I’ll see you later, Fire.” Sarcasm rang through the name as she released it from her mouth.
She turned to Vatuha, whom was standing, still catching his breath as he watched. “I’d like to speak with you. Alone. So bring him back to Suende and come see me.” After that, she disappeared into the darkness.

Vatuha let out a short, annoyed sigh and finally stood upright. “You heard her,” He said through clenched teeth. “Let’s get moving.”

“Wait a second, she’s gotta be no more than 16 years old. Why do you take orders from her?”

“I do not take orders from her!” I had obviously upset him in some way. “But, I do take orders from Suende. And Tulil is Suende’s Shifter. If she tells Suende of my not responding to her, it will disappoint her. And I do not want that.”

“She’s her Shifter?” I asked. “What does that mean?”

He quickly realized he’d spoken without thinking and changed the conversation; “So… Fire?” he prompted.

I felt myself flush a little. “Yeah,” I said. “Fire.”

“Where does that name come from? Why did you choose it?”

I thought for a moment. Not that I really needed to think too hard about my answer. Finally, I gave my answer; “Because fire is life and death, as well. It breathes. It plays. It fights with passion, conviction. It’s everything a person should hope to be.”

He gave a half smile to the darkened archway we were about to walk through. “It plays…” He said quietly to himself, then gave me a look of hidden approval. “Let’s go then, Fire.”

We began to walk toward the doorway and I felt myself smile inside, only slightly, for the first time in a very long time.

~♥~

When we had finally made our way back to the room I had woken up in, it room seemed empty. I shuffled through the door and Vatuha closed it behind me before walking away in a hurry. His footsteps down the hall were thuds on the cave floor until he was too far away to hear.
For the next few minutes, I stood beside the bed, thinking. I hadn’t had the foggiest idea why these people wanted me here. Why couldn’t I just leave? It wasn’t that I was ungrateful for  what Suende did for me, but I didn’t want to stick around where I clearly wasn’t welcome. I decided that I would look for my clothes and find my way out before Suende or Vatuha returned. But, I hadn’t known where to search first.
Deciding to venture through the corridors, I turned around and headed for the door, but was stopped by a familiar voice in the room.

“You won’t be able to open it.” She said.

I turned to look for where the voice had come from and saw nothing at first. The room looked utterly lonely.
Then, she appeared. She’d been well hidden in plain sight, standing beneath the waterfall chandelier. Hidden behind the downpour, only her head could be seen as she peered at me. Strands of her hair clung to her face while the majority of it melded with the rushing flow around her. She looked nearly rejuvenated and I felt a great and inexplicable wave of relief by seeing her that way.

I quickly snapped myself back from my thoughts and asked, “Why can’t I leave? Why won’t you let me go?”

With a puzzled look on her face, she pulled her head back behind the water. “I wasn’t aware that we were keeping you here against your will.” She said gently. “If you wish to go, you may. Though, I see Vatuha did not show you what I asked him to.”

“He did.” I began. “Or at least, he tried to. Some girl came in and interrupted him.”

She popped her head back out and scowled. “Tulil?” It sounded like a question, but I was sure she meant it as a statement.”

“Yeah. That’s the one.”

Annoyance coupled with worry were strategically hidden behind her glinting, blue eyes and she backed herself beneath the waterfall once more. It took her a while to speak again, but I waited patiently where I was, until she did;

“You may leave if you wish to,” She hesitated for a moment.

It occurred to me that she still didn’t know my name, so I quickly spilled out the word “Fire” and hoped that she wouldn’t laugh at the one I’d chosen for myself.

“Fire?” Suende paused for a moment, I had assumed, to think about the name I'd given her. Finally, she said, “Alright then. I will make you a deal, Fire. Come into the fountain with me, I will show you a secret that I've shared with nobody. Not even Vatuha. If you still wish to leave after that, I will show you the way out myself.”

“Is this a trap?” I thought to myself. “I want to think that she knows I wouldn't fall for that. But, then again, I'm already here. What reason would she have to trap me within my cage?”

“Deal?” She asked, forcing me out of my thoughts.

I decided it wouldn't matter if it were a trap or not, because at that point, I was at their mercy regardless. “Deal,” I said. Then, I took a deep breath, pulled myself together and walked under the falls leaving no trace of my entrance.

“It's ok,” I heard her say. “Close your eyes.”

As I did what she asked of me, I felt her hands touch the temples of my head. Her skin was soft to the touch. So soft, I almost couldn't feel it at all. She lightly dragged her fingertips along from my temples to the skin just before my ears, then down each side of my neck. As she did, I felt a change in my skin and muscle. It was like a strange freedom had been given to me when she told me to take a deep breath. She let go of me and I inhaled. I was breathing under water. My hands glided across the skin she had touched and I felt a chill up my spine as I realized that I now had gills.
I began to open my eyes when she darted downward. Only seeing a glimpse of her long black hair as she fell, I found myself wondering if she was alright. But, that quickly passed when I realized I was being pulled under by my ankles.

“Can you breathe well enough?” She asked me a few seconds after I had landed.

I stood up and searched the wide waterfall for her, but I couldn't find a trace of her. I took a few deep breaths and tried to answer her, but the words came out gargled and choked.

She let out a small giggle, uncharacteristically, and said, “Oh, yes. I forgot. Close your eyes again, would you?”

Reluctantly, I did as she asked. The next thing I knew, she had one hand resting lightly against the back of my head and the other half wrapped around my waist. The feeling of her chest lightly pressed to mine felt like a spark inside my lungs.

“This wont hurt,” She whispered. “I promise.”

Then, her lips touched mine in a gentle, chilly kiss and my eyes popped open at the realization that I could feel my heart beating in my chest.

~♥~

When she slowly pulled away from me, I saw her for the first time since I'd come into the waterfall. Her skin was lightly patched with silvery scales and the texture of her non-scaly flesh was dewy and almost glowed, even in the dim lighting beneath the water. Her eyes were blackened bulbs with turquoises rings that looked like a cluster of icicles. She smiled at me and it was a beautiful, serrated sight.

“Can you speak now?” Her voice was serene and smooth.

My thoughts escaped me. Nothing in that moment felt real anymore, but her. Not that I had really felt like myself since I woke up there anyway, though. I didn't know how to react or what to say. She had caught me entirely off guard.

Her smile fell a little when I didn't say anything.

“Still nothing?” she questioned. “I thought it might work, but I suppose I could have done it wrong.”

“N-no,” I said, then stopped, realizing that I could now speak. No gurgling or blubbering. I could actually speak. I continued, “It's not that.”

“Oh, good!” Her smile returned. “Come. I will lead the way.” Vanishing behind the curtain of liquid, Suende beckoned me to follow with a serene, lilting hum.

I stepped through the water onto a sunken platform around 6 inches under water and jetting out two feet. It reached around the entire circular shape of the falls. The drop off from the platform was a deep pool. It seemed to be there naturally, but who's to say what sort of powers could have formed those mysterious cavers. It had been too dark to truly tell the difference at that point, anyway.
The surface of the water glistened from the glow of the mushrooms, varying in size, color and shape. They dotted the entire room, but were mostly in clusters, which would have made it easier to make your way about without tripping or disturbing much. Other than the reflections of luminescent caps, the water was very dark.
As I was taking the sight of it all in, Suende, whom had already made her way silently into the deep, inched her head through the surface and watched me. Those haunting eyes reached for me with such intensity, I couldn't keep my attention from them. Her gaze pierced through me every time she laid her eyes on me. I couldn't escape the feeling they gave me.

“Are you ready?” She asked, but before I could answer her, she disappeared again under the water.

Taking in a deep breath, I watched for her to resurface, but she didn't. Feeling anxious, I whispered her name, hoping to beckon her. When she didn't come up, I called for her again, louder this time. Finally, I began to realize that she didn't want to show me something above the water. She wanted me to follow her under.
I stood in silence, wishing she would reappear so that I wouldn't have to dive into the complete and total darkness beneath my feet. Then, I paced back and forth nervously. Finally, I brushed up the nerve and dove under, trying my best to be thoughtless.
The water felt like a thick layer of frost over my skin. I extended my arms, trying to find something for my hands to hold onto. Not daring to swim downward, or otherwise, I quickly gave up the search for a placeholder and squinted in the hopes that I might catch a glimpse of her somewhere.
I began to panic a little inside and felt an intense urge to hear her voice. If for no other reason, than to know that she was alright. So, I called her name into the darkness.
Feeling a presence behind me, I turned myself to find a pair of glowing, blue eyes piercing through the darkened water, right into me. At first I began to panic. What was this creature? I kept thinking to myself that I had known it was a trap, but something else inside me was telling me I was wrong. And then, the same glow crept downward and in the afterglow, I could make out the body of a person. Suende. The luminous blue color formed markings that carved themselves slowly down her arms, torso and legs. Other than the markings, she looked so different in this light. There was something entirely changed about her form, I could feel it, though I couldn't see enough to make out what it was.

She placed her arms over her chest in a sort of X shape and as she did so, curled her legs to her torso. Shortly after, she tucked her head under as well. She'd balled herself up in a tight, fetal position.

Once the light from her markings had been completely swallowed up by her newly taken posture, her voice lyrically passed through the water and echoed through my ears;
“Please stay with me.” It was a whisper, but I hear it clearly, as if she were standing right beside me.

In a soft, sweeping motion, she shifted her left arm from it's spot and extended it. Then, she did the same with the right arm and as she did so, her marks broke apart and scattered into the water. The specks of light floated a short distance from her body, staying fairly close to her. She began to move her legs, but kept them close together in a, and the same effect continued with them, then her torso until she was completely surrounded. As she lifted her head, the light from her eyes did the same as the rest of her and soon she was fully illuminated by the glow she'd created.
I couldn't take my eyes off of her as she swept her arms about, as if she were dancing, taking the specs of light with her while she swayed, all the while, a strand of light stayed against her body in the way her chain was around her when we'd met. She gathered them all into a flowing mass and moved them gracefully around her, making it look like she were surrounded by swirls of great power. She looked like a celestial goddess as she bent and moved. Then, she shifted to look like she were falling and the glitter around her, looked like shards of glass separating from her chest and outward into the void.
Soon, I gathered that she wasn't just showing me beautiful images. She was telling me a story with her power.
Moving from the falling position, she formed chain links and clasped them to her wrists and ankles. She put on a display of struggle and fear for a moment. Then, the chains shattered around her and she swept the glowing mass into arrows, raining down on her as she appeared to be running. An arrow his her back and, representing blood, the glow slashed lightly from the false wound.
Now in a lying down position, the mass formed a large figure that picked her up and carried her away to safety. As the figure laid her down, she woke and grabbed it's hand and it pulled her up. Once she was in a standing position again, the mass shaped into another, smaller figure that danced with her in a battle of swords. Overcome by Suende, the figure lifted it's head for her to sweep the final blow across it's throat. But, instead, she took it's hand and pull it to it's feet.
She swayed her arms above her head, dragging the mass with her motion until it was on the other side of her and she created a new figure with it. This time, the figure was seemed to be in pain and struggling. She caught him as he fell and I realized that the figure she was showing me now was me. I could feel my face redden as she showed me the struggle she endured while trying to keep me alive. Each image she showed me hurt a little more because I knew that it harmed her physically to help me the way she did.
Between the images of her and I, there were small instances of just her watching me. Every time she showed me that image, a piece of, what looked like glass, lifted from my glow-double's chest and flew into hers. This happened after every image of her healing me until the story progressed to just a few hours ago, when I awoke with her next to me.
Once the story was finished, she brought the mass back into a concentrated space around her, then pushed it all away evenly. The specks crashed against and illuminated the series of crystals that had previously been hidden by the darkness. Before the entire pool could be lit, she swam to the surface and pulled herself out of the water. And I was left there alone, once again.
The faded-red tunic they'd put me in was very uncomfortable. It was rough and felt like it was rubbing the skin off my chest and shoulders, but at least the pants were alright. Or, at the very least, not as painful to wear. They were black, thick so there were a little more warm and bracing against the cold air of the cave. The outfit wasn't complete, though, without the luminescent, gold chain wrapped harshly around my neck, down to my torso where it cross it's self with mirrored tightness and wrapped me again, continuing this until it connected between my legs. I had no idea what their plans were for me here, but I was not okay with the idea of becoming one of them. Whoever they were.

“What are these clothes about?” I asked myself under my breath, but Vatuha heard me anyway.

“You do not need to know.” He began. “You already have enough information about us. Your presence has been a knife in my skin from the moment she plucked you off the desert sand. Once she feels you've been fully rejuvenated, you will be leaving here and never coming back.”

There were many things I thought about saying to him in that moment, but I kept them all to myself instead. If there had been something I could have said to ease his suspicions of me, I most likely wouldn't have said them anyway. Pride was all I had left and I wasn't letting it go for the approval of a love-sick, egotistical caveman. Either he would tell me why I was there or he wouldn't, but the fact of the matter was, I wanted to leave. And I was going to find a way to, with or without his help or permission.
I followed a few steps behind him, looking around discretely for possible exits, but there was nothing. Nothing visible, anyway.

“Curious?” Vatuha questioned, snuffing out the silence.

How did he know what I was doing? I thought.

He continued to say, “Don't bother. There aren't any exits unless Suende decides there are. Nobody gets in and nobody gets out.”

I scowled to myself and stayed quiet as we reached the end of the corridor, where the hallway widened into a wide, rounded room with two doors on either side of a darkened, chilly-looking stairwell going downward. The door on the left was sealed with and covered in pink crystals. On the door to the right, made of a darkly colored metal, hung a sign of red velvet. Gold letters spelled out “Tulil”, embedded in the crimson cloth.
I mouthed the word as my eyes scanned over it, trying to figure out if it were a name or a label for some fancy room that I probably wasn't allowed to go into. I drew the conclusion that, whatever it was, it was a room of importance. Which told me i might find something of value behind it to help me make my way out of there, if I had to. So, I made a mental note of each step we took after that and followed Vatuha as he lumbered, heavy footed down the stairs.

~♥~

When we reached the bottom step, it was darker and much colder than I had anticipated. As I began to shiver, I remembered that I wasn't alone and I tried my best not to show the chill running through me. Though it was dark, I didn't count out the possibility that I could still be seen by something or someone. Even Vatuha seemed to have some sort of special seeing ability. It was best to keep my guard from dropping in any way I could for the moment. Then and there, as far as I was concerned, I was in enemy territory and the enemy must never see your weaknesses if one can help it.
For some reason, I had expected us to stop when the stairs ended, but we didn't. He kept walking as if I were supposed to just know where to turn or what to do if we were to be separated. Then, as soon as the thought slipped through my head, he scraped a torch across the cave floor and it burst into a bright, blue flame. The light from it burned my eyes for a second before dying down into a steady-burning ball with a floating, wispy tail on top. A slight warmth brushed my cheeks from the fire here and there, which was a welcomed relief on my ice-cold face.
We made a left turn and held the same pace through the passageway. Then, after a few feet, we veered another left, then an almost immediate right. I thought the trip to where ever he was taking me was going to last forever. We seemed to have been going in circles, but he looked as though he knew exactly where he was the entire time.
As we walked, I saw several openings to other hallways that we did not turn into and I counted each after every turn we made. But, I quickly lost count and began to doubt myself on how to return to the stairway. That, of course, didn't end my determination to find my way there anyway. Though, I'd have had to wait a while longer   before I could bolt, if I had decided to do so.
The narrow hall was silent, aside from the sound of our footsteps and the slight crackle of wood on fire. I'd have spoken if I weren't irrationally afraid that if I made even so much as a whimper, a shadow monster of some sort would loom overhead and strike me down for disturbing it's rest. But, the silence was deafening. So much, in fact, that my ears had begun to ring unmercifully. I found myself wishing for Vatuha to break his stoic disposition and say something. The darkness and quiet felt horribly powerful and it was not something I cared to feel alone in.
He made a right turn and I followed. Having completely lost track of what turns we'd made where, I began to feel even more nervous than I had before we lurked down those steps.
When we made a sudden stop, that's when I noticed that the walls on either side of us were no longer there. I hadn't had the cloudiest idea when the hallway had ended or how I hadn't realized when it did, but there we were, in the middle of a dark, quiet, freezing-cold room. I didn't know how things could have possibly gotten worse.
Now, usually when someone says or thinks that to themselves, things get worse, right?

"We're here" Vatuha's voice was a shotgun blast to my ears after such a long time on mute. "Sit down on the floor and fold your legs into one another."

Confused, I began to ask, "Why would I do that? Is this some sort of game?"

Vatuha merely grunted repulsively at me before shoving me to the floor by the top of my head. "You can do it when I tell you to," He said through his teeth. "Or you can be forced to. It's your choice, mutt."

Without arguing, I sat down the rest of the way and crossed my legs, as he'd instructed of me.

He dipped the torch in a pool of water beside us, that I hadn't seen until just then, and threw the wooden hunk in some blackened direction behind him. And I felt a smile cross his face when he said, "Good. Now, we begin."


~♥~


I kept silent, peering into the darkness, as I searched for a figure or shadow to follow with my eyes. It was no good. The room was simply too dark, though it hadn't really mattered anyway because, after about 40 seconds, torches lining the room all the way around it lit rapidly, one by one. Their blue-ish white glow pierced my eyes, brightened the room nicely and I could see it in it's entirety.
There were several archway bordered in those same pink crystals that I had seen earlier, upstairs. The darkness beyond them was undisturbed by the light from the torches, bringing an empty, lifeless feeling that was difficult to shake. In the center of the room, a spot on the floor was raised 6 inches or so from the rest of the floor, and jetting upward from it was a spire that sharpened to a fine point. The same was true of the ceiling, bringing the spires to nearly touch with a foot between them, preventing them from meeting. Between the two pointed stones, a pink hunk of diamond-like gemstone glowed brightly, suspended in place.
Vatuha held his hand to the stone, bathing his fingertips in a magenta aura. As he did so, strands of smoke-like glow drew from the stone and stuck to his hand, causing it to take on the effect of being caught on fire. Each lick of power made my heart jump a little more in my chest. I'd never seen anything like it before and something about it struck an indescribable thrill into my heart. It was like a mixture of fear and joy. An indescribable feeling to feel.

"Suende," He began. "she wanted me to show this to you. I don't know why. I told her I did not want to and that it was a bad idea. I do not trust you, but she does."

Not knowing what to say, I started to rise to my feet, but stopped when I saw him swap his hand's position from near the stone, to my direction.

"Don't move! I will not hesitate to harm you if you give me any more reason to distrust you." He lowered his hand as I sat back down. I'd never taken him for the type to play games and I wasn't about to call his bluff then. The last thing I'd wanted was to look even more weak than I had already made myself look.
The glow from the gem faded more and more as he took from it. He had a pained look on his face that fell somewhere between angry and confused. He did not understand why Suende put so much trust in me so quickly and it hurt him somewhere inside. His feelings for her were written all over him day and night, from what I could tell. I wondered to myself if she knew or rather, how she couldn't know. Something of sympathy rose for him within me and for a moment, my heart went out to him.
Once Vatuha was finished gathering power, the gemstone was nearly black. Very little color clung there still and the aura of light around it was but a small, faded boarder that outlined it's dulled, lifeless form.

He hesitantly inched toward me, holding out his hand. Seeking my forehead, his hand trembled with repulse and anger until finally resting against the skin over my brow. The pink wisps curled gracefully over his dry, worn-down fingers. I could feel them as they pierced into my skull, uncomfortable but painless.
Nothing happened for a moment and the quiet between the two of us pounded in my ears in intervals with the sound of my blood rushing through. The sensation was like and icy fire coursing through my body. It was nearly unbearable, feeling the things I did and seeing the things I saw.
Then, without warning, there was a flash of pink light, so hot it nearly burned out the back of my eyes and I was somewhere I didn’t recognize. Well, somewhere other than the cave, anyway. My head was throbbing so much, I could barely make out what was going on. But, I could see a person, a woman, standing beside a little girl. They were holding hands and looking out a window at a lake-side flower garden. They were happy and smiling, glad for each others company.
Another flash put me in that same garden with the same two people. I watched as the little one pricked her finger on a thorn by accident. Angry and hurt, she pulled the flower from its stem and crushed it in her palm. But, soon after she began to cry, full of regret and tried to piece the petals back together. When she failed, the woman smiled at her and held the part of the stem that was still in the ground between two fingers. The petals began to glow, then reformed with the stem in a sweeping motion. Joy overcame the girl as she surprised the woman with a tight hug and then there was another flash, sending me to what looked like the future.
The young girl now looked around age 14, but with the way she was slumped over that grave, she seemed more like an adult. Her face was down-turned and lifeless with anguish and uncertainty. Everything was muted, distant and the smell of lilac faded in and out with the light breeze. On the headstone read “Amara Suende Remios: A loving and determined mother. Brave until the end.”
Once again, a blinding light took me elsewhere, but that didn’t stop my stomach from aching at the sight of her name on that gravestone. Though, it was clearly her mother’s or someone she cared for deeply, I still couldn’t shake the small pit that formed when I saw it there. I didn’t even know why I cared so much. Probably because she saved my life, to be honest. After draining herself nearly to death to save me, I felt reluctantly attached to her.
This time, it looked like I was in her bedroom with her. She was sitting on the bed with her legs crossed over one another, meditatively, looking at a lock of thick, silky, black hair resting in her palm. A tear fell from her expressionless face and dropped quietly, soaking into a few strands of hair. A knock at the door drew her from her dazed sadness and she tucked the lock away in a small, decorative, metal box. Then, she tucked that box under her pillow and beckoned her guest to come in.
The door opened silently and stepping through it was Vatuha in his earlier years, before his hand became weathered and his face scarred by battle nearly lost.

“Lucinda,” he said. “It is nearly time. Are you ready?” His voice was much gentler than the voice I know now.

His clothes were different, as well. Instead of his tunic and chain, he wore a robe-like top in a color I couldn’t make out through all the pink and gray around my eyes. Suende also had different clothing. She was in a tight-fitting, violet dress that made a V shape from mid shoulders all the way down past her belly button, making it visible through the opening. Her silver chain hanging loosely about her waist instead of wrapped strategically around her. Her hair fell loose behind her head and lightly cascading over her shoulders. They both had looked very different and completely familiar at the same time. Though, honestly, I was much more concerned with the strange name her addressed her by.

She looked away from him and frowned. “Please,” she said. “Don’t call me that anymore. I am Suende now.”

A hint of disappointment crossed his face before saying, “Yes. My apologies, Suende.”

“I’ll be ready shortly, Vatuha.” She said. “Thank you for checking up on me.”

He nodded with a smile, then exited her doorway, closing the door behind him.

Crossing the bedroom to her mirror, she took a look at herself and was overcome by her emotions. Tears streamed down her face as she searched for something in the mess of grooming tools on the table in front of the mirror.
Before I could see anymore, lightening struck through the visions in my head, knocking me backward. I was back in the cave and Vatuha was standing hunched with his hand over the other in pain.

“What happened?” He shouted more than asked, though I could hardly even hear it through the ringing in my ears and the total distortion of noise.

I couldn’t speak to answer him, even if I had wanted to. My head was still full of static and everything around me was a blur. I thought I might be sick, but miraculously I did not vomit at all. Finally, with a pounding head and a dry, burning throat, I managed to find my way to a sitting position and stayed there hoping to soon re-grasp reality.
Before I could gather my thoughts, though, Vatuha pulled me off of the floor by my tunic and lifted his fist. As he did so, my sight came back in time for me to see it begin to glow with what was left of the power he’d gathered from the stone and I could feel my blood run cold.

He was just about to hit me when a voice behind me shouted, “Stop!”

The voice was unfamiliar and sounded small, but strong.

Vatuha put me down and when I turned around, I saw a girl standing there in a lavender colored half top. Under that, against her skin was a fishnet top tucked into dark jeans that cut off just before her knees. A violet chain hooked the top of her short-topped boots and wrapped her left leg like a snake until reaching her belt loop, where the chain was latched through. The other leg was netted like her torso and through the netting, was a mark that I couldn’t quite make out. When I looked at her face, she looked angry and ready to strike one of us down. I couldn’t tell which

“Who are you?” I asked, more surprised by her presence than curious.

She raised her brows at me and said, “I am Tulil. Who are you?!”


~♥~
More often than not, I find myself baffled at the ridiculous amount of hatred growing in cowardly letters coming from behind a computer screen. Hatred for an opinion. Hatred for a mistake. Hatred for an appearance.
What is all of this shit?
Are you no better than the piece of shit you claim the other person is for merely stating how they feel, versus you, who must slander and profane to the outspoken thinker.
Human kind is cruel.

Shame on all of you who do this.

And Shame on me for ever being a part of it back before I was mature enough to see that hatred is not a suitable response to the thoughts and feelings of another individual..

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gigglefitt25
Rebecca
Artist | Traditional Art
United States
I'm a very artistic person! I love to sing, dance, drawing/painting/sculpting/etc. I WRITE LOTS OF POETRY! lol ^-^ but my passion lies with the art of drawing/painting... lol I love hearing what you've got to say about my art, so don't hold back! REALLY LET ME HEAR IT!

Favourite genre of music: any kind of music at all really
Favourite style of art: none in particular
MP3 player of choice: anything i can listen to music on
Favourite cartoon character: Sterling Archer and Zuko
Personal Quote: Be somebody you'd be proud of
Interests

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:iconunreal-forever:
Unreal-Forever Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:iconbirthd::iconbir2::iconbir3::iconbir4:
:iconbir5::iconbir6::iconbir7::iconbir8:
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Hope you have a wonderful day :icondragonmusicplz::icondragoncakeplz:
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:icongigglefitt25:
gigglefitt25 Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2016   Traditional Artist
Thank you :D
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:iconunreal-forever:
Unreal-Forever Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:icondragonhug::iconsaysplz::iconyourwelcomeplz::iconyourwelcomeplz2::iconyourwelcomeplz3:
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:iconnezhiel:
Nezhiel Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thanks for the watch :hug:
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gigglefitt25 Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2015   Traditional Artist
np ^_^
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madmyrtle Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the watch
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madmyrtle Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the Watch :)
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gigglefitt25 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2015   Traditional Artist
np ^_^
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:iconunreal-forever:
Unreal-Forever Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:iconbirthd::iconbir2::iconbir3::iconbir4:
:iconbir5::iconbir6::iconbir7::iconbir8:
:iconbir9::iconbir1::iconbir10::iconbir11::icondragoncakeplz:
:iconbir12::iconbir13::iconbir14::iconbir15:
Hope you have a wonderful day :icondragonnod1:
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fladevianart Featured By Owner May 27, 2015
Thanks for the fav!! :ahoy:
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