Prologue III

Accenda spoke. "It is at times like these that we must remember who we are—the Gemkeepers of the Age." 

Pyra was staring at the ground, not daring to look at the others. 

"We have each been chosen by the previous Gemkeepers to do what is perhaps the most difficult job in the Four Realms. We guard the powerful gems of the Realm of Darkness, that we may prevent chaos from raining down on all Four Realms. That alone is no easy task, but combating those who wish to cause trouble—and keeping our identities secret—has put us through some harrowing experiences." Accenda surveyed the circle, the circle with the gaping break in it right between Nimba and Rose. She must keep speaking no matter what, or else she would lose herself entirely. "That is why it is a job shared by eight of us." 

The gap in the circle seemed to interrupt her. 

"A job shared by eight of us," Accenda continued resolutely, I will not stop I will not stop, "so that we may support one another. The bond that we form is stronger than friendship. No one else can understand the trials that we have faced and the choices we have had to make daily. We are a sisterhood of sorts, and as with all sisterhoods, there are times when we lose a sister." 

"It was an accident," said Fria suddenly. The six others looked at her in surprise, even Pyra. Although Fria commonly broke in on such occasions, it was unnerving in such a solemn situation. Fria continued, "Amoris fell into the Pool of Pink." 

Dissolved in acid. No body, even. Pyra looked down again quickly. 

"Amoris fell into the Pool of Pink," Accenda reiterated steadily, "and for that reason we no longer have a Heartkeeper." Her voice echoed off of the slimy cavern walls. No longer. Must keep speaking. "Amoris protected the gems with her life. She always fought for family, love, and friendship. She always reminded us of what was truly important. Amoris held us together." 

Pyra could feel her eyes glowing again; she harnessed the feeling, imagining that she was boring holes into the stone ledge on which she was sitting.

The End

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