Aradel woke up, somehow standing. He tried to look at himself, raising his hands, but he could not see anything. Darkness spread over him. “Am I dead?” he thought. Then he felt his body pulling forwards. Therefore, he walked down the vacant passageway. There was no end, no sense of direction. His ears started ringing. The silence was loud. He could now hear his own heart beat, thudthump,thudthump. He felt alone but yet at peace. His mind was clear. He had only one choice before him.
As he proceeded walking into the further depths, the pathway before him began to melt, finally giving light to the passage, the floor beneath oozed like black tar, liquidizing, then the tar began to rapidly set ablaze behind him, sending a heat wave. “Shit!” He picked up his pace. Suddenly, he saw see a faint light appear in the distance. As it grew closer, it started to resemble a female of most illustrious proportion. Aradel stopped and stared, dumbfounded. She was wearing white silken robes, embodied with golden glyphs, depicting wings, emanating dimly. As he gazed upon her face, she light up like a star, but he could see her, through the light. Without realising he started walking towards her. She reached her hands out to him and so did he. He felt a harmony around her. She grabbed his wrists lightly and pulled him closer. Her hands were as warm as the summer sun on your skin.
He began to hear a soft, whispering voice. Her words were soft, ever rolling smoothly from one phrase to another. As she began to speak, her voice echoed.
“Aradel, speak to me my child. I have come for you. The light within you has finally awakened.”
“W-who are you? What are you?” he asked in a soft tone, obliged to do so.
“I am you and you are me, Aradel.” She said.
He tried to observe her more closely. The most prominent feature was her smooth white hair that flew with ease, just like the ocean waves, being pushed and pulled by the moon. He has never seen such perfect hair. She smiled at him; her eyes were golden, revelling in the light around them.
“Seek me out in the dwells of the deep, over the highest mountain, at the morning peak. Sword of ages, buried within awaits your righteous call. Those that whisper the lights name can enter the domain. Purified shall the darkness be, but only those that set in the light. Make your mark on the stones of destiny and the path shall be revealed to you.”
The words engraved in his mind, burned deep within him, clear as water. He gazed upon her one more time as she let go of him and he began to fall, his hands slipped out of her reach as he slowly levitated down. All he heard was a single sound of a bell, and then the feeling of water engulfing his entire body. A pulse of light spread out as he penetrated the surface, intensifying in radius. He closed his eyes in reflex and as the time around him halted, he awoke.
He awoke with a swift thump, his eyes wide open, sweat pouring down his forehead. A horrible light penetrated his vision. As he adjusted his eyes, he could finally make out of what was creating it. It was pendant hanging right above him, painted white over and decorated with white wax candles burning frivolously with its distinctive yellow glare. The first thing he heard was a voice of an old man.
“You’re finally awake.”
He looked over to the side of the bed and true enough he saw an old man, smiling down at him, he wore light brown robes and was holding a smoking pipe and on it was a carefully crafted head of a western dragon of a most fierce expression, plated in pure gold. He inhaled from his pipe and puffed out a circle of smoke, all the while smiling at me without any restraint. He had long straight grey hair and his thick brows accompanied his cheerful expression. He seemed carefree as he was sitting down, his legs crossed. He wore a most peculiar pendant. It was a carving of what some believe how the holy star of Aralesh would look like if it was a human. It looked like it was made of pinewood and was lined with detail and utmost care in its form of creation. Aradel stared at the man’s smile, not yet aware of what has happened.
“Am I dead?”
The old man laughed whole-heartedly.
“Not yet you’re not young man.” As he looked over his shoulder and out the dusty window. Trouble etched on his face. He turned to look back at Aradel, pointing with his smoking pipe.
“I saved you from the soul eaters. From the looks of it, it looked like you barely survived. If it wasn’t for me, you’d be most likely be dead, too.”
Aradel looked back up to the hanging pendant, trying to remember the details of what happened that night. He ran his fingers through his hair, letting out a heavy breath.
“Thank you for, for saving me.” He whispered slightly.
As he sat up and placed his legs on to the cold wooden floor, the floor creaked with his weight. He sighed again, feeling exhausted. ”Wait, too?” he thought. Then, he remembered a flashback to the night of the solar eclipse. His chest tightened, as if he was stabbed straight through and the knife was left there. He swiped his hands across the table next to him, knocking over the lit wax candle, breaking it in half. Having slipped from its golden holder, yet the fire kept going. He looked at the melting candle. His mind was finally awake.
“T-that...”thing”! It...killed my friend” I sniffled, trying to dry away the tears with the blanket.
The old man’s expression changed. He picked up the broken candle and placed it back onto the table. As he sat back in his red Bergère chair.
“Yes. I remember now. There was another person-“
Aradel interrupted him, looking him straight in the eyes, as yet a glimmer of hope appeared inside of me.
“Yes! Izuel, is he alive?”
The old man swiftly looked down on the ground, placing his pipe in his specially crafted holder on the table.
“No.” He looked straight into Aradel’s eyes.
Silence struck the room. The candles burnt imperviously as a strong wind picked up outside. The windows shook like leaves in the wind. “I did everything I could do, but it was too late, he was already gone.”
“It’s done!” He swiped his hand across the bed. “He’s gone...there’s nothing that could bring him back now.”
The old man’s lips opened but no words came out. He sighed lightly, shifting his eyes to the candle that lay atop the table near Aradel, you could see the sympathy he had for the boy but yet failed to find a way to comfort the boy, so he stuck to the most common phrase the people have used over the centuries in this forsaken land.
“May his soul rest in peace.”
“No” he looked down into the distance with lifeless eyes “His soul will never rest. It will be tortured and torn apart by the soul eaters. They never let go of their prey. They will feed on him...without remorse, without end.” He said with an empty voice.
“It should have been me, me alone that should been taken, not him!” He clenched his fist. “He was better than me, kind…forgiving.” as he gazed into the distance.
Aradel lifted up his hand straight in front of him as if he could still see him, an image of him, waving. He tried to reach out to him but the image quickly vanished before his eyes. He turned away and closed his eyes.
The old man picked up his pipe back up again;
“You know, I remember when a most dear friend of mine said this to me.”
Aradel was now staring blankly, into the distance.
“When we hit our lowest point, we are open to the greatest change.”
Silence hit the room. A wind was picking out outside as the clouds gathered like a pack of wolves, and then just like that a shower hit the continent. Raindrops trickled down the windows outside. Aradel stood up slowly, gazed his eyes upon the door still with the same blank expression, took a walking pace and as he reached the shuttering door, turned the doorknob and walked out. He did not speak a single word for there were no words needed. The old man looked down on the floor, as if he said something wrong, he too knew that the time for words has ended and that the best course of action was to leave him alone, for now.
He slowly shifted his vision up as if looking beyond the inner walls, at the sky and at the distant stars.
“The time will come, for when he is ready, I shall tell him…” He whispered.
Aradel shifted to the nearest wall, ignoring the rain. He put his back against the wall and slithered onto the cold floor. He looked up to the opaque clouds with a blank expression.. His own tears flooded as they blend in, with the rain. He let out a scream, like he has never done before, at the top of his lungs. He let out every breath in his body, as it scattered to the wind.