The next morning, as she walked with Aden to the Ranger's Hall, Sarah finally saw those oddly shapes embedded on the trees for what they were: Tree-houses! There were quite a few of them too, built amongst the trees and connected by wooden bridges. She thought how it all looked so amazing, like it had been designed by professional architects and constructed with skilled hands. So this is Duskwood? Sarah thought. She saw rangers train, practicing marksmanship as well as swordsmanship, as if they were preparing for war. They moved and preformed their tasks with incredible agility and precision. Some had even started their routines even before sunrise. Sarah saw them for what they were: Dedicated people. Some greeted her, calling her; "traveler", others simply waved. She just smiled and nervously waved back at them. "You guys keep calling me Traveler." She said to Aden as they neared the Hall. "What does that even mean?"
"It means you're not from our world." Aden explained. "You were created by the gods of the White Heavens. And then you were summoned here to help us in our hour of need."
Sarah thought about that for a moment; So they thought she is some kind of god-created human? Maybe she wasn't on Earth. Maybe this world was another planet from another galaxy. "Help with what exactly?" She asked.
"They say there is a madman hiding in Altia." Aden asnwered. "Right now, as we speak, he raises a army to conquer our world. He calls himself the Mad King. Of course, most people believe he is but a myth. An old story told to scare off children. But he is real. And the Judges wont be able to detect the threat until it is already too late. That's why we, the Rangers, exist. We are Altia's first line of defense. It falls to us to stop this mad king before he rises to power and becomes a real threat to the Palace and the Judges." Aden looked at Sarah with a soft smile. "You can help us defeat him. Training you will be our greatest accomplishment yet."
Aden nodded. "You have great power within you, Sarah. Dormant now, but we can help awaken it. We can train you to control and develop it to its full potential. You, Travelers, are the only beings in Altia with power equating that of a Judge."
"Wait, so there are other's like me? Other Travelers I mean?" Sarah asked, her eyes glittering. "I'm not alone in here?"
"No." Aden said. "But you were the only one that made it to Vahall during the summoning. We couldn't find the others. They must've been scattered around the continent. We have Rangers searching for them now."
Aden's words gave Sarah a certain joy she had not felt in a long while. She wasn't alone! Knowing that renewed her hopes. Maybe the others knew what had happened. Maybe they knew how to get back, and maybe they had all the answers to all her questions and doubts. It was only a matter of finding them. "Thank you, Aden." She said, looking at the Ranger with generous eyes.
"For rescuing me."
Aden nodded. When they reached the Mead Hall, he opened the doors for her. "Come on. Your training begins tomorrow, so let's enjoy today. There'll be a feast tonight in celebrations of your arrival."
It wasn't just a feast, Sarah realized. Tolwing had asked her to join the Rangers and she had readily accepted. Of course, he had also told her about the challenges and tests that she'll have to face before she can emerge as a true Ranger of Duskwood. But according to the rangers, she was a demi-god in that world. She will become a Ranger. She will become strong, and she will find the other Travelers.
"Welcome to the brotherhood, Serah!" Tolwing yelled out so that all the Rangers in the Hall could hear. "We will forge you into our greatest warrior. And once you are one of us, the mad King will know to fear the Rangers of Duskwood!"
Everyone in the Hall burst into sheers and applauded. They knew that with a Traveler amongst their ranks, they will be able to stop and vanquish the evil that was the rising Fire King. Sarah was ready, and for the first time since arriving on Altia, she felt happy about it.
That night she cried a little but managed to look at the positive. She was alive and with good people. And she wasn't alone. That single thought put a smile on her face.