The Light of Shi'va, Chapter 2
Since Bri’da refused to tell me about my past, saying “it wasn’t her place. When the Great Va’shi wished for me to know I would know”, I began to search for the answers myself. I searched through as many musty books as I could manage, finding very little. I spent most of my free time trying to unravel the riddle that was me. Who am I? Why does Bri’da refuse to tell me? Why am I so powerful? Yet, as hard as I looked, it seemed that the answer slipped further and further from my grasp.
I have found myself staying up late nightly trying to find some slip up, some clue that Bri’da may have left hidden in one of our conversations. To my dismay it seems that she made very few. The few she did make were so cryptic and random that I, honestly, have no way of unraveling them. Bri’da, it seems, is far more infallible and precise than I ever could have imagined, which makes me wonder what secret would be so important that she would so methodically keep any shred of it from reaching me. Whatever it was I knew that it was the reason I was forced into isolation.
Frustrated, I went for a walk thinking about the ancient tunnels that create a labyrinth beneath our land. I remember as a child Bri’da would bring me down to them and show me the inscriptions that lined the walls. She would tell me all the stories the inscriptions held, and it seemed that they would come alive within my mind. I would sit nestled in her lap and watching heroic battles blaze through my mind, ancient sorcerers casting ghastly spells, and powerful heroes that somehow beat all the odds and save all the creatures of the land. These tales always seemed to enchant me, I remember many nights I would come down here, trying to escape the horrific noises that the sinister beasts outside protective walls of this ancient place would make, and I would find myself drawn deeper and deeper into the labyrinth.
On several occasions I got so lost within the tunnels that it took Bri’da hours to find me. Of course, I always had a rather mundane and endless monologue waiting for me after she found me and tucked me in her arms. Although, she would always hold me in her arm as if she was afraid that something terrible had nearly happened to me, which always seemed so puzzling to me, nothing could get in or out of this place. Only Bri’da knew how to leave, but she never did.
Tonight, the night seventeen years after my birth, I have felt a great pull to somewhere deep within the labyrinth. The pull is so much stronger than I have ever felt before, it feels as if my entire soul is about to rip out of my body in search of whatever lies beyond my knowledge. Bri’da seems to be aware of this as well, but all she has done is look into my eyes sympathetically and tell me “Listen to Va’shi. You will never be guided wrong.”
As night settled upon our home I decided, whether consciously or not, to gather a bag full of supplies and set off to find whatever has been calling me for so long. I gather several days worth of food, some extra clothes, a small book of incantations, my lucky knife, and head out to the entrance of the labyrinth. Excitement and anxiousness fill my body as I delve deeper into the mysterious inscriptions.
The deeper and deeper into the tunnels I go the more things seem to get progressively weirder. The inscriptions, for one, are glowing. Not just a little mysterious glow, no, a bright golden glow that gets brighter the closer I get to the inscriptions. Once I pass the inscriptions they go back to the normal darkness I always had experienced. It’s like they are somehow affected by me. I soon find myself, somehow, understanding the inscriptions, yet I don’t read the inscriptions, I watch what they say.
I continue down the passages in a trance, only vaguely aware of the tunnels. My eyes see things that I know aren’t there, yet they seem so very real, too real. The visions grip me further when I see and hear a magnificent king and queen speak to one another. A Queen, incredibly pale with hair as rich and dark the forest ground at night, raced ahead of an equally handsome King that was darker in complexion, but had beautiful golden hair. They both were racing towards a large billow of thick black smoke that they feared could be only one thing, their kingdom. “Adelia! We must get to the castle before that monst….”The king said to the Queen in a stressed manner,” No! It can’t be! our people!”The King and Queen stared down from the top of a hill in horror as they watched their kingdom and their people burn.
The Queen choked out between jagged breaths, “Tancred! We have to stop that monster before he destroys them all. They are our people! That soulless, shapeless monster must be stopped!” The Queen shook with anger and loss as what she was witnessing fully came to terms inside her mind.
“We must go to the castle. We need to find Sha’kri and his master. Adelia, we have to do whatever they ask of us, I fear it is the only way we can save whatever remains of our people.” The King whispered as if he was being crushed by an incomprehensible weight.
The visions continued for a great span of time, drifting from unimaginable horror to unthinkable tragedy all befalling the mesmerizing Queen and King, never quite releasing my tortured mind. I continued through tunnel after tunnel only to be assaulted with increasingly gruesome images of the evils this mysterious Sha’kri seems to not only be capable of, but has a sadistic joy in carrying out.