Time passed quickly in Calcedonia, and the heat of midday merged into the brisk cold of night, darkness and shadow suddenly flooding into the bright sunshine. Wandering back outside, I gazed at the moon that lay high in the sky. An ebony orb, it lit up the small campsite that the remaining humans had created. These people still looked at me with disdain; I was still a ‘beast’ of this world; some, however, were starting to notice my human-like qualities and the trust that The Princess gave me. One girl, Autumn I believe I caught her name as, was gazing at me, almost admiring.
Cautiously, I tiptoed over, dirty leaves catching and sticking to the soles of my bare feet. I smiled at Autumn, who was sitting on a fallen tree, observing the colours of the night. That made me remember the days of my youth, up in the clouds...
“I love your hair,” she observed, “It’s a pretty colour. I wish mine was more like it.”
I gazed back at the girl. Her features had gently been carved out of her round face: wood eyes, lips curving upwards, but were framed by a bush of dazzling hair the colour of the underside of Birch Bark.
“Your hair is pretty too,” I replied courteously, “It reminds me of the change that occurs from summer to autumn...oh.”
“Hence my name...” she grumbled.
I placed myself onto the log beside her, also observing those people gathered around Lone Cliff. Glancing across at Autumn, I watched a she closed her big brown eyes in concentration, and the world began to slow, the people upon it ants in their work.
Autumn said nothing, but tilted her head towards me.
“Autumn is a place of change,” said I, “But it doesn’t mean that it is any less beautiful than the other seasons of the year.”
Although she chose, once again, not to respond, Autumn’s eyes betrayed the feelings of gratitude that my words had stirred up inside. Instead, she said:
“I’m still trying to work out my power. It’s weird, isn’t it?”
“Whatever is happening to us, it’s beginning here. We’ve been given these powers for a reason, but it’s hard to know what. What is it that the world is hiding from us?”
I looked deep into Autumn’s eyes; somehow, I knew I could trust her.
“There is a prophecy...” And I paraphrased the tale that I had told The Princess.
Once I had finished, Autumn just stared.
“And we’re expected to be a part of that? No choice?”
I sighed. It all went back to the moral choice of right and wrong.
“I wouldn’t tell the others that just yet though. It might cause them undue worry...”
We turned away from each other, and watched as a silver trace of light ran across the sky, trailing a star-speckled tail. It seemed to splutter and suddenly continued to shoot across the sky at a quicker rate, disappearing in the blink of an eye. The girl beside me sighed; unhappy about her powers.
“Who’s your leader here?” I finally asked Autumn.
“I dunno. I guess we don’t have one. That...girl, who you followed into that tent, she seems more the commanding type. But she’s not one of us.”
She was referring to The Princess, of course. I wouldn’t personally have called her ‘the commanding type’, but it was in Royal blood, I supposed.
As though she had heard my thoughts, or Autumn’s words, The Princess pushed open her tent-flap and emerged, looking less concerned, and more determined, than before.
Those that saw the movement looked up, wondering at her.
It was the middle of the night, but that didn’t stop Princess Tianna addressing them.