I wake up with a start, lying beneath the tin roof. “That damn nightmare again,”I say to myself. I lie there and listen to the chirping of a thousand crickets.“It’s still night.”
About that time, I hear knocking on the door. I get up, thinking that it’s Avantra, and I open the door but on the other side is not Avantra at all.
“Thomas?” Gwendolyn says as she sees me, “Is that you?”
I nod, “Hey Gwen, I haven’t seen you for so long. How are you?”
“I’m good,” she starts, “I got married to Alex, I’m expecting a daughter, and I love my hiatus from being hunted in the streets. But, how come you’re so old?”
I smile, “I’m from the future, allow me to explain…” And so, I tell her about my past nine years. About diving into the ocean, about drowning at sea, about finding my father, about finding Yokai, about the rifts and my family, “…So, as you can see there’s some mission here that I need to complete. And I can’t leave or find my family until that’s done.”
She has a look on her face that I can’t quite place. “Oh.” Is all she says after a period of silence.
“So how do we find out your mission?” Snickers asks.
“Well, there’s no sure fire way to find out. It’s just like a game; I just have to play it to the end. So, after we killed the Magister Lords who took power?”
Gwendolyn responds to my question, “Well, all of us who took part in the rebellion got a position of nobility. Right now the governing council is made of Soren, Derrick, Jon, and a few other elected officials. Roland got promoted to captain of the guard. Pretty much, Alex and I are the only ones who denied the duty. And you, well we all thought you had died.”
I nod, carefully considering what she said, “Then I have to go to the Palace at Vastrom and see the council.”
Gwen shudders, “I don’t want to go back there, I just want to stay in the forest here.”
I smile, reminiscent of something my father had told me. “There are sewers in this country that lead into the Palace. We could just use those.”
Gwen’s eyes widen and Snickers looks at me sideways, “Not that place again. Anyway but that.”
“Come on Gwen, Snickers, let’s go through the sewers. Or we can always go by way of the towns.”
Gwen narrows her eyes at me, “Fine, the sewers would be just dandy.” She says with ice in her voice.
I walk out of my hut and knock on Avantra’s door. She opens it and sees me and Gwen then she looks at Snickers suspiciously. “What do you want?”
“I just thought I should tell you that I’m going to the Palace, I may not see you again. But, I want to let you know that I will miss you.” After saying this I embrace Avantra.
She pauses and hugs me, “Oh, don’t be such a sap.” She says, holding back tears, “You’re old enough now to make decisions by your own. I mean, it was only the other day that you were just a little toddler in my arms.” At this time tears begin to fall from her eyes as she sobs in my arms, “Now you’re all grown up.”
“I love you Avantra, thank you for looking after me.” At this I let her go and I wave goodbye as Gwen, Snickers and I walk away. After a while we’re far away from the rebel village that Avantra called home and we’re heading toward a small sewer duct.
“How do you know where it is?” Snickers asks, “The sewer duct that is.”
“Well, I can hear it. Different water has different sounds, and so I can just tell where it is by the sound.”
“Oh, alright then.”
We walk on the rest of the way in silence. Until finally we find the sewer duct. I lift it up and move it aside and then I jump inside. I dive into the foul, nasty concoction and swim to the surface with my eyes closed. I allow myself to walk upon the water and call Gwen and Snickers down. Gwen comes first, falling into the water; I pull her up and put her onto the water. Snickers is the most hesitant, but finally, with a lot of coaxing from Gwen and I, he jumps down and crawls onto the water.
We walk atop the filthy water with no light source except the odd light from an open hole every couple hundred yards. At one point I see the scaly back of a sea monster move along in the sewer water, but luckily Gwen and Snickers do not. They would have freaked.
“What is with these sewers? Why are they so disgusting?”
“They’re sewers, what did you expect?”
“But they’re not being used; they were an embarrassment to the Magistrate. No one knows about this place, except you, your father, Snickers, Roland, and me.”
I consider this for a moment, and then I realize she’s right. “Yeah, these sewers aren’t used. Why is there waste in them?” Then I consider the thought of sea monsters, they pass waste like everyone else, but they do it only a few times in their life. If they are using this place as a waste facility then there would be thousands in these waters.
Before Gwendolyn can reply I see the marble flooring that indicates we’ve found the entrance to the Palace. “Aha! We’re here!” I rejoice.
We switch from the water onto the marble and the clacking of our shoes fills the small hallway. Together we all walk to the end and up the steps; we open the door and find ourselves in a broom closet. I step through this closet carefully and get to the other side where I open the door and walk into the lobby of the Palace.
“We made it,” I say to Gwen, smiling, “We’re here.”
Almost immediately, I start walking around. I go up the grand staircase to the second floor and I walk through the giant double doors. In here is a giant ballroom with a large, circular table in the centre, and seated in each of the chairs were the entire counsel. There were at least 32 pairs of eyes staring at me.
Soren is the first to speak, “Who are you?”
I smile, “Thomas, Thomas Aquos. Hero of the Rebellion,” out of mock humility I bow low, “at your service.”
But before I can say anything I hear a boom and feel such a strong magical presence that I fall over as if I were pushed. I can tell that everyone else in the room felt it too as most everyone has their hands on the table to steady themselves.
Suddenly several images flashes before my eyes: Several sea monsters swimming around a crystalline orb; an explosion out in the middle of the ocean; a Silver Dragon standing on the edge of a beach; an image of Gwendolyn and a Man; an image of Derrick Keane; an image of a pale faced man with vivid blue eyes; an image of a cripple; an image of Roland; and an image of myself and my youngest son Paul.
“I’ve had a vision!” I scream as I suddenly pass out and everything fades to darkness.