I am sitting by the lake wearing nothing but my undergarments, my dress drying over a near-by branch, hovering a sphere of water over the palm of my hand, when Raethor appears from the woods.
"Lysandra. You must come back to the house. There is a girl there you need to meet." He voice is hard and serious. Why is he calling me by my full name? I've always been Lyra to him..
"Thor? What is it?" I frown. Ever since he told me about my powers and my inheritance two weeks ago, he has been strangely distant..
"Nothing, Lysandra-" He starts.
"Lyra." I intervene, giving him a hard look as I get up.
"As I was saying, Lysandra, please just follow me to the house." He continues, ignoring my comment.
"Its LYRA!" I say loudly. He jumps, and turns to face me, his eyes suddenly brimming with tears.
"Oh Lyra.." He murmurs, bursting into tears, "I will miss you so.. I always dreaded the day you would leave me.. But no. You're a sage now.. I must respect you. "
"Is that it? My new found.. status? That's why you won't call me Lyra, why you won't even look at me? Because I'm leaving you someday?" I laugh, and put my arms around him. "I'm not leaving for a good while, Raethor."
By this time we have reached the house, and there is a gorgeous palomino horse grazing on the grass. Instantly, something feels odd about the house.. Then I realise what it is. The creeper that was dead and brown when I left the house this morning could never have been more full of life, bursting with the beautiful bright purple flowers that are on the Fourth Kingdom's flag, since they only grow here. I raise my eyebrows, but don't say anything. Once inside, I realise things are different in here too.. The flowers I killed by over watering them are blooming once more, along with the little potted plant that I tore to pieces one frustrated night.
But the strangest thing is the figure standing with her back to me. Her dress is woven with every colour I know, and some I do not. It is beautiful, like a solidified rainbow.. I long to touch it. Next to it, my plain white, floaty dress seems achingly boring. The figure has long hair twisted into dozens of thin plaits. She is tall and muscled, her arms and neck adorned by countless bangles. She turns, and I see her face, radiant with power. She is older than me, that I can tell, by at least two years. Her face is pretty, and forgiving. Who is she?
"Lysandra?" She says softly.
"H-how do you know my name?" I say, taking a small step back. She smiles.
"I know your name because I am the Life Sage. You are the Water Sage, no?" She says smoothly.
"I.. I am. Call me Lyra." I say, slowly becoming more at ease with her.
"I am Calathea. It is good to find another Sage. I have been travelling for a fair few days in search of you, my young friend." She smiles, and holds out her hand for me to shake. I do, somewhat nervously. "So. Will you be ready to leave today?"
Then it hits me. This is really happening. I am really beginning my life as a Sage.. That is why Raethor was so sad. I turn on my heel and run smack into Raethor. I curl my arms around him and squeeze him as tight as I can. A single tear sliding down my cheek, I murmur: "I will always love you. Don't leave here. I'll come back, I swear." He hugs me back for a few moments, then gently pushes me away. He hands me my best thick blue cloak, and steps aside. I see that my dapple-grey mare, Whirl, is tethered next to the palomino. Her saddle bags are bulging. Raethor must have been preparing for this day..
"I'm ready, but.. can I just.. do one last thing before I leave? I want to say goodbye.. to the lake where I grew up.." I mutter, and pulling on my soft brown boots, I hurry out of the house without waiting for an answer. I reach the lake and stand on the shore, the water lapping around my toes for a few moments. Then I dive in.
Raethor and Calathea are watching the water, waiting for me to emerge, when I shoot up from the very centre of the lake, inside a thin column of water. The water arcs under my effortless control, and I land, on my feet, in front of them. I smile.
"I'm ready. Let's go find the other Sages!"