The Light of Shi'va, Chapter 1
She watched her hands, as she uttered the last of the ancient incantation, begin to glow a beautiful golden glow. Finally, she had got the incantation right, Bri’da would be pleased. This spell had taken her an uncharacteristically long time to successfully perform. Although, Bri’da seemed to be bizarrely confident that she was strong enough to do it. Bri’da being her only friend in the world always seemed to expect the worst from everything; as result she constantly planned for the worst.
For this very reason is why I have no other friends, no knowledge of the outside world other than what she has taught me. I know she thinks it is for the best, but I just want to know what it’s like outside these ancient rock walls and primeval trees. To feel what the sun feels like away from this dense green overcast. I know nothing of my past, the only thing I do know is that it is Bri’da who cares for and protects me. I sometimes wonder why I must be locked up in this sacred place, why I cannot speak to anyone, why I must always hide when strangers come close to our land. But alas, this must wait until after my lesson with Bri’da, she may be my guardian, my best friend, my only friend, but she does not approve of anything except absolute punctuality.
I make my swift decent down the twirling staircases, away from my tower, down to Bri’da. But before I completed the last flight of stairs the old clock rang, sealing my punishment, Bri’da would be angry. I ran headlong down the stairs, every second I prolonged my infamy the more Bri’da’s patience would run out.
I finally reached the study room, a room with the characteristic smell of an old library. The walls were made of a beautiful assortment of colored stones stacked upon one another; the floor, made of an enchanting near-black wood that provides lovely contrast to the room. This strange room is lit by a beautiful array of glowing candles. I love this room; I spent so much of my childhood sitting on Bri’da’s lap listening to her read ancient texts that provided all the wonder and imagination a child might ever want. This was my home, of course I have never known any other home, but it seemed utterly perfect and well suited to me. Like it was made for me.
“You’re late! What have I told you about the necessities of punctuality? There are reasons for what I demand.” Bri’da said with her characteristic scowl that reminded me of a tiny monster all riled up. Of course she couldn’t help that fact that she barely made it to my shoulder, I was after all nearly six feet tall.
“Forgive me Bri’da, I lost track of time because...” Bri’da surprised me by congratulating me, her eyes lit up with such intensity I for a second wondered if they were about to explode. She had never simply dismissed my infamy before, she always had a huge monologue waiting for me, but today it’s like all her pessimistic ways were gone from her. She was a new, yet completely familiar person. This Bri’da, the Bri’da that illuminates the room with her simple breathtaking smile, was the Bri’da that raised me as her own. Only these past few years has she become so cold and distant from me, but that all seemed to be gone.
“I knew you could do it! How did it feel? Was there any pain?” Bri’da quivered with anticipation, dying to know everything about this relatively minuscule achievement. I have accomplished much more advanced incantations before and her excitement to them was limited and rather joyless, but this new level of excitement that shook her body now was completely and utterly alien. She bounced and quivered with the excitement of a young ignorant child.
“Bri’da? It was just a simple incantation, barely worth noting. Why are you so ---- vivacious?” She held my eyes with her own, with a bazaar, alien sense of understanding and warmth radiating from her small, gentle body. She continued to hold my gaze as she slowly came forward and placed her small tentative hand on my cheek and said. “That incantation, it isn’t a simple parlor trick as I lead you to believe; it is a powerful and rare ability that I myself have only seen once before.”
I stared at her for what seemed like hours, I thought and rethought everything, tried to detect the smallest sign of this simply being a trick. There wasn’t any. She remained still allowing me to think, acknowledge, accept everything. Was this why she kept me away from outsiders? I finally dropped my gaze and with it I allowed myself to fall to the floor. I was numb, I was lost, I was confused. She sat there in front of me for what seemed rest of the night and just held me, comforted me. I don’t know how long we were there it could have been minutes or it could have been hours, but she never showed any sign of her common impatience.
After a long while words finally slipped through my dry lips. “What am I? Who am I?” She was silent a while longer, trying to find the right words, the right way to tell me what she knew.