When you have nothing in the world, what do you have to lose when you hear a voice telling you to let go of life and there’s nothing you can do? Do you simply fight it or welcome it?
There are some like me who no longer have that choice; I can never have that choice, because I’m already dead and in a different world.
When you think you’re alone with no one around, do you dream of different worlds, of different lives?
I did, and now I wish I never had.
Chapter 1 - Desperate beginnings
I am sixteen, and I wouldn’t call myself an “ordinary” girl. I live with my drunken dad, who violently hates me. He’s never sober. I always get the full blame for every mishap that happens in our small house. I hardly remember going to school either. I cannot remember the number of times I have been beaten and it doesn’t surprise me. Most of my life I spend in my room, trying to avoid my beast of a father. If you are ever told that someone is related to you, make sure they run on blood and not alcohol.
This is why I dreamt of a different life in a whole new world. I always dreamt of one place – Rezta.
I live through someone else’s eyes there. I see what I’ve seen since birth in Rezta, always the same thing: a never-ending cloud of inky black darkness slowly consuming the planet and growing worse and far more vivid as time passes.
This hell like-place is also what comes to my head when I try to think of my mother. My mother abandoned us when I was younger. I don’t really remember her, and I only know what she looks like thanks to the one picture of her in my house. She was young, and if it weren’t for her dark eyes, that closely resembled my own, I wouldn’t recognise her. Her face was happy and carefree, smiling at the long-lost camera, innocent and untroubled. Both my dad and I loved her, but when she disappeared he spiralled into a deep depression, and nothing I ever did or said helped him, but the drinking did.
I wake in sweats every night, seeing this place, Rezta, and its people being haunted by something, leaving a deathly trail wherever it goes. Slowly over the years, I have watched this make-believe place go from bad to worse, and it has burned me every night until I awake, suppressing sobs into my pillow.
“Oy, girl! Get here now!”
My body froze as I heard my father’s voice come booming up the stairs, echoing threateningly and stealing me away from my thoughts. He’d been hitting the bottle again of course. He always comes home drunk, and then he attacks me. The hospital doesn’t believe me when I come in with my various injuries. Who would though? I’m only a child, and no one ever believes children – especially not when the caring father hugs and kisses his daughter in public and puts my cuts and bruises down to “sheer misfortune”.
“Shana!” My father screamed from downstairs. “If you make me come and get you, you… you’ll bleed for a whole bloody month! So get down here! Now!”
I had no intention of going anywhere. The hospital said if I “fell” again, I would have to go into childcare, so my father stopped taking me to school where the teachers could see my bruises. I was locked in the house while he was out getting wasted, waiting for him to come home and give me another wave of fresh torture.
I should’ve run when I was at school, but my few friends I had there were what kept me sane. They were a comfort to me, an escape route from my life; but that changed quickly when my father took me in for “home schooling” and never let me out again. But it was too late to do anything now. I’ll never have a normal childhood with friends or freedom.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to run. I had to be free and have a life worth living. And it didn’t take much to know that this type of living was wrong and it definitely wasn’t for me.
Becoming more and more acknowledging of the fact that my father was growing ever more impatient, I got up and stopped beside my bedroom door. I was sure he’d make good on his promise if I failed to appear, and giving him even more incentive to be angry was something I never needed to do. I slowly pulled the door towards me and looked out across the hall. I didn’t want to walk down it and meet my father; I was wild with fear as I crept slowly down the landing.
Moving cautiously across the small landing, my heart pumping loudly in my ears, I stopped at the top of the staircase I had “tripped” down a few too many times. My father’s bloodshot eyes flickered to life when they saw me, they were more frenzied than usual; his greasy grey hair hung on his slumped shoulders and his drooling mouth was turned into a sneer. If he hit me on the head in this state, my hair would be dyed a dark shade of red.
His sneer turned into a full blown grin as he watched me. I grasped the bannister as I came down the stairs and was aware that I was breathing heavily and loudly, I tried to silence it, I knew that loud breathing annoyed him and that gave him more reason to beat me. I watched my father’s reactions with eagle eyes.
“Hello, Shana dear,” he snarled out in a blood-curdling voice as I walked steadily, towards him. He turned away and headed for the soundproof basement I have now become so terrified of, with no doubt I would follow him as I had been doing for years. I hung my head in shame and forced one foot in front of the other, knowing it’d be worse otherwise.
Let’s get this over with, I thought, sickened.
As I walked past the front door, rays of sunlight caught something metal, I held my breath. It was a key!
All the windows and doors were locked permanently in my house. I got no fresh air, and my hope dwindled as my life continued. My father was very careful not to let me escape or get near a phone, even if I knew how to use one. But he had finally made a mistake. This could be my chance!
I glanced quickly at my father who was still heading for the basement. I’d get the beating of a lifetime if I was caught. It was stupid – and dangerous.
It’s now or never, my inner voice told me. My mind was made up.
As quickly and quietly as I could I turned the key in the slot. It made a faint click, but in the still air of the house, it was equivalent to an alarm going off.
My father’s head whipped around, but in his drunken state he failed to focus immediately on what I was doing, which gave me time to fling open the door and stumble across the broken tiles that led to the house.
I urged my frail legs to run, even though the pain jolting through them on every step was excruciating. But the breeze felt so nice on my face that I didn’t care that I had no place to go or that my father was probably hunting me down right now. I ran so fast I couldn’t even control my legs, but that didn’t matter. I was free!
“Shana! Come back here now!” [ASI1]My father’s hysterical voice shrieked behind me down the street.
What happened next went so fast.
I felt something smash against the back of my head, and pain was travelling down my spine to every muscle of my body. My fingers automatically went to the back of my head and brought back red, sticky blood that gleamed on my hand as I was forced to my knees. I felt sick to the pit of my stomach while the agonising throbbing in my head was deafening me. I fell on my side as a grey haze started to cloud my vision. I was shaking uncontrollably now, helpless. Looking round helplessly, I saw my father staring at me from across the road, shaking with wild laughter. He had thrown the bottle he’d been holding directly at my head, causing me to fight for my life.
Maybe it is better this way, I thought as I lay with the gradually growing pool of blood making a halo around my head. No more abuse from that monster; no more hiding from my own life; no more struggling through this miserable and wretched existence. But I couldn’t give up, not after everything I had been through. This can’t be how it ends.
I remember hearing a scream from a neighbour and sirens in the distance. I was still fighting to keep my eyelids open as they bundled me into an ambulance and sped me away to a hospital. I had to fight. I had no religion and didn’t know if death was the end or if there was some sort of heaven.
My mind went foggy as a strange, rough voice echoed suddenly in my mind.
“Shana, come. We need you here in Rezta.”
Wow! Craziness must run in the family, my muddled mind managed to think. Hearing voices was never a good sign, even on the brink of death. No, I wasn’t going to give up, not ever.
A deafening silence knocked me into oblivion. White light engulfed me, boiling every atom of my existence. I was gone.
Chapter 2 - Welcome to Rezta
It was the most painful experience of my life. That’s what getting cremated alive must feel like, I thought groggily. I had no idea why I listened to that voice or even if it was real, but I did listen. I don’t know what I was thinking. I’m supposed to be dead, I realised. Perhaps I had just fallen asleep in the ambulance, but I didn’t want to open my eyes because I knew what I’d find, all because I’d believed the voice.
“Open your eyes,” the strange voice said again, reverberating in my head. “Trust me, everything will be okay.”
“I’m dead because of you,” I said aloud. “I won’t listen to you again.” Wait, how did I say that if I was dead?
“You’re not dead,” a different voice said, answering my question. “At least not here.”
I opened my eyes. I was staring at a carved golden wall. I wasn’t in an ambulance at all. Then it hit me that I was dead but could still think. I didn’t do much of that when I was alive, so why would I do it now if I was dead?
I sat up on a large, comfy bed and stared into the eyes of an old man.
“I was wondering when you’d come around,” he said to me. “My name is Grint,” he continued, without any interest in knowing who I was.
“My name is Shana,” I said anyway in a tone of authority. This seemed to amuse him.
“Yes, I know who you are,” he replied almost mockingly. He gave a cheeky grin, which creased his already creviced head. It looked creepy and unusual.
He shrugged. I could see he was one of those wise types that usually get on my nerves very easily with all their “wise” speeches. There was a moment of silence which I was enjoying, as the thumping in my head sang dully.
The old man spoke to me again. “Shana, do you know why I have bought you here?” He sounded a little too curious. After a pause, he turned to look at me, questioning my silence. I shook my head slowly.
“You must rest now,” he said abruptly, standing up. “This is your room. Come downstairs in one hour. You’re no good to anyone tired.” He turned to the door and gave a deep sigh; he was either really tired or really relieved.
When he left me on my own, I sat upright in the bed and studied the room. It was enormous. It had a light creamy carpet and intricately designed wallpaper. There was a gigantic cupboard that took up the entire left-hand wall, its doors complete with mirrors that reflected the light that entered from the large window, scattering rainbows everywhere. I could see out of the window from here. Outside was a vast open meadow with two great fountains and a dark forest at its edge. The sky was a clear blue with only the sun to accompany the mountains that rose high in the distance.
With my head still thumping, I got out of the bed and walked over to the oversized cupboard. I stared at the girl looking back at me in the mirror. I somehow looked different. With the same clear olive skin, my deep brown hair was not as tussled as it usually was, because it was currently in a neat bun with only the fringe hanging loose. Then I looked at the rest of my body and I realised that I was wearing a white dress that draped down to the floor. I had never worn a dress before; it looked somewhat elegant. Around my neck was a curious silver necklace with a tiny amber gem in the shape of an oval. It gleamed brightly in the sun’s rays which were streaming through the room.
I looked away and opened the cupboard. The two doors folded back to reveal the large interior. I was in heaven. The cupboard was filled with clothes – lots and lots of clothes. Dresses, shirts, shoes of all kinds, jewellery, and more things I couldn’t even see. I wasn’t used to having luxurious things (or even nice things), so I automatically thought of money, if that even existed here.
My head still ached and I was feeling dazed, so I climbed back into the lavish bed and fell asleep.
An hour had passed when I awoke. I was convinced I had a really weird dream about extravagant clothes and dresses, but one look at the room I was in told me it wasn’t a dream at all. I climbed out of the bed again and slowly opened the bedroom doors – slowly, because they were heavier than they looked – and I was taken aback by the beauty of the house or palace I was in. “Palace” seemed to fit better, though.
I walked out into a spacious hallway, looking from one room to the next. The magnificence of each one astounded me. All the rooms I walked into were enormous, but I failed to see why anyone would need sixteen living rooms with not much furniture other than sofas or thick rugs. Or maybe I had just seen the same room more than once.
I might as well face it: I was lost in a house. Had this ever happened to anyone before?
I stopped in a random room and sat down on a red sofa. I sure hoped someone would find me soon; I don’t handle boredom well at all.
I don’t know how much time had passed since I started, but I realised I was rocking quickly on the sofa. I jumped when the door unexpectedly swung open, and my eyes darted towards it. Standing in the doorway was a small girl with light blonde hair and porcelain skin with hazel eyes. She was dressed in a white cotton dress and brown gladiator slippers. “Huh, are they back in style?” was my first thought when I saw her.
“Hi,” I said. I stood up quickly, and I was aware of a dumb grin on my face. “Do you know where Grint is?”
She stared at me with frosty eyes, making me want to run away. I looked around the room, avoiding eye contact with an ever-growing silence hanging between us. This was an awkward environment to be trapped in.
“Uh, I’m Shana Hale,” I said, trying to sound upbeat, but I think it came out more as a snarl, because she was still glaring at me. Had I insulted her by saying hi?
“I’m Mia Green,” she retorted finally. “Did Grint say where he would meet you?” Without waiting for an answer, the girl Mia crossed her arms and walked back through the door. I ran after her.
“Um, I think he said something about going downstairs,” I told the girl, trying to remember the wrinkled man’s words. “Are you new here?”
“No, I’m not,” she replied huffily. She blew a piece of hair away from her face and marched to a hallway I hadn’t seen on my wanderings.
“Can you tell me where I am? My father threw a bottle at my head and killed me.” That’s always a good conversation starter with awkward people.
Mia looked like she was trying to suppress saying or asking something.
Just then a lady appeared and stepped in front of us. She was richly dressed and had a stone-like face, her hair in a tight circle on her head. “My name is Mary,” she began in clipping tones. “Grint is this way, Miss Green and Miss Hale.”
Oh my God, I thought. Was I at a morgue or something? Or is everybody here generally just sad and angry?
We followed Mary through a number of doorways to a landing that linked most of the rooms I had ambled through. The stairs were at the end of the hallway, winding around a dark ebony pole with intricate carvings cut into the wood. I looked closely at them as I descended. They were mainly pictures of a young boy about my own age, clutching a sword. He was fighting a sinister shadow, and when I looked at it, it sent shivers and goose bumps up and down my body. It was a big figure with the shape of a human body, but my instincts told me it was something more. I swear I had seen it before.
“Mia, do you know who this is?” I asked the girl walking in front of me, pointing at the carvings. It was probably a stupid question, but I needed to know.
Her expression paled. “Yes. But I don’t think it’s who you should be asking about. It’s what it is.”
Mary had a grim look on her face, and her eyes were stained with anguish as she looked at the boy on the wood. “This way! Do hurry.” Her voice sounded harsher than before.
Mary hurried downstairs and beckoned us to follow. I looked at Mia with a surprised expression. I was thinking that saying this place was ‘messed up’ could be an understatement. I looked swiftly one last time at the boy battling the dark figure and quickly walked on.
At the bottom of the stairs, Mary continued to walk down a brightly lit corridor, its walls decorated with various tapestries and paintings, and finally stopped outside a tall, cream-coloured door.
“In here,” she commanded, and she disappeared inside the room. Afraid to be left alone again, I followed Mia through the door.
I was in another large, richly furnished room. A group of people sat casually on sofas centred on a big area, chatting happily to each other. Grint sat in an oversized chair at the head of the room, while Mary strode towards the empty seat next to him and sat down. They were the only old ones in the room, I noticed.
Everyone suddenly stopped talking and turned to gaze at me and Mia where we were still standing.
There was one other woman in the room, aside from Mary. I had never seen her before. She was young and incredibly pretty. She had clear skin, deep brown eyes and blonde hair. She noticed me looking at her and smiled. I gave a brief smile and blushed, which made her giggle, and I swear Mia was finding this amusing too.
“Mia, Shana, come sit,” said Grint from the huge chair. They all turned away in silence. Mia gave me a nervous glance which I returned. “No one here will harm you,” Grint said, smiling warmly.
Mia walked gracefully forward, and I quickly followed her. She had reached the centre of the circle, when a burly man, at least six feet tall, jumped up and threw an object in her direction.
Everything slowed down. Mia immediately saw the sword heading for her face and raised a hand, seemingly unafraid. The sword glowed red and came to an abrupt halt in mid-air. I couldn’t tell what my face was giving away, but I was sure it was frozen in shock as I watched Mia clench her fist, causing the sword to burst into a ball of blinding flames.
A smaller, younger man stood up from a plush sofa and laughed at the guy who had thrown the sword, slapping him round the head.
“Cough up,” he said to him jubilantly.
“Fine!” The sword-thrower dug his hand into his pocket and whacked two gold coins into the other man’s outstretched hand.
“One day I’ll catch her out, and then you’ll pay me double of everything I’ve ever given you,” he mumbled grumpily.
The young man sat down, and Mia plonked down beside him. They high-fived each other and the man reached into his pocket and gave her one of the golden coins. The older man just grunted at them, and then he turned to me.
“Hi,” he said with a smile. “My name’s Thornton, but my friends call me Thorn.” He held out his hand to me.
“I’m Shana,” I said in a shaky voice, taking his hand. Thorn was still smiling as he took his place.
Now everyone was looking at me again. I looked at Thorn.
I still didn’t understand what just happened or where I was. I still believed I was going to wake up at any moment back at home in my lumpy bed with all my bruises. But everyone’s eyes continued to stare at me, and my head felt dizzy and confused. It was fair to say that I knew I was going to have a bad reaction, so I promptly passed out.
Chapter 3 - Conference
“She shouldn’t be here.” I recognised Mia’s voice.
“We need her, you know that.” Grint sounded strained, as if he had had this conversation multiple times.
I decided to intervene.
“Why am I here?” I opened my eyes to see everyone crowded around me, some with worried expressions on their faces.
My question swiftly caught their attention. Everyone’s eyes darted down to look at me lying on the couch – everyone except Mia, who was staring at Grint with expectant eyes. She looked at him as though she wanted him to say something. It was quite annoying. What was she afraid of?
“How much do you know of Rezta?” Thorn asked after a long silence. He was staring at me with a grim expression. Everyone else’s head popped up as if this was a very important question.
“Only what I’ve seen in my dreams. There was no detail, but it looked dark and barren. But the view outside does not seem that way, so I guess I was wrong.” I looked around at Thorn, who was shaking his head slowly. The view inside certainly matched my description.
“You saw correctly, but that was a part of Rezta outside my island. Rezta has fallen, with one city still standing. We must fight back against Morphius.” He said the name coldly, as if saying it was bad luck.
Everyone shivered at the name.
Thorn’s tone sharpened to match his words[RBS2]. “Morphius is why you are here and part of what you have been seeing and the main reason why you’re dead – ignoring the daddy issues, that is.”
“Thorn should not have been so blunt, but Morphius has brought nothing but fear and destruction amongst my people,” said Grint[RBS3]. I noticed he had said “my people”.
“What do you mean, ‘your people’? Are you their king?” I asked. This brought a smile to his face.
“Shana, you mustn’t be so rude.” The blonde shook her head.
“No, it is fine, Anna.” Grint smiled and his face wrinkled. “We do not have kings and queens on this island. I am just the person they come to if they need help and consultation. They fear me. That is why I live here in such a magnificent palace on an island.”
Mia had been quiet all through the meeting, but she was instantly alert after what he had just said. “You! You haven’t helped anyone since you were put here. You’ve been exiled and stripped of your post,” she smirked.
“I doubt you could be a big threat to anyone.” The whole room gasped. “With a sword you would be slow,” I injected into the conversation. “With magic, however, you seem to be talented.” I looked over to a bookshelf; on it was a book that read “Spells and Incantations”.[RBS4]
Grint stood up, as did the younger man, who had a huge monkey grin on his face. Grint walked over to take the hilt of the sword which Mia had blown up. Grint grasped the hilt with one hand on the bottom and one on the top. As if it were heavy, he slowly brought the hilt up to his waist and turned around to face the man standing at the opposite side of the circle. Mia was also on her feet. The other man gave her a warning glance, as if he was concerned for her well-being.
The hilt gave a bright blue glow, and in a blinding split-second a newly formed blade had appeared at the end of the hilt. All the people sitting down were thrown to the opposite side of the room in their chairs. Mia gave a quick dark chuckle at my expression. This looked wrong! She looked as though she was about to fight them. She raised her hand at a clear space in their midst, and a ball of water and light appeared. It was so pretty that I felt like I needed to watch it forever. Mia clenched her fist shut, and the light exploded in front of them. She and Grint stood their ground, while the power in the circle crackled like lightning. The other man was thrown off balance but remained standing. Mia opened her hand towards a wall where swords were hanging, and a sword was torn from the wall into her hand. It too glowed bright blue.
Then the power surge finished, and they began to fight.
“Hendric, are you all right?” shouted Grint, as if the power surge had affected his hearing. Now I knew everyone’s name.
“I'm fine,” he shouted back, as if he meant trouble.
Then they both lunged for Mia. I couldn’t stand this – she looked so frail. She swiftly moved her sword to block the men’s attacking swords. How did she know how to handle a sword? Then there was a flash of red light, this time from Grint. He threw his hand in Mia’s direction, and she was thrown across the room and into Hendric. Grint chuckled, put down his sword, and walked over to the bundle. Mia wriggled out of the bundle and helped Hendric to his feet. They were both smiling. It was almost as if they knew they were going to lose the fight against Grint.
Now I knew why Grint was dangerous. During the red blast I could feel the power rippling through the room and the suppressed force that could have made for a deadly blast.
The chairs were put back to form an orderly circle. Thorn high-fived Hendric as he returned to his seat. Mia was smiling as she took her place next to Hendric. I was still in shock, but she and Hendric high-fived. Grint was smiling at me from his seat.
“I am not far out of practice, young one, but I grant you a sword is not my weapon of choice. Shana, I suppose you’re still wondering why you’re here?” I nodded my head feebly at his question. “You are the one I chose out of your world.”
Everybody was looking as though they were in complete disbelief. A moment of uncomfortable silence passed. I wished they would stop staring. It was so rude.
“What for?” My face felt hot. I didn’t like where this was going.
“It is up to you to save our world, to take Rezta back to the former glory it once was.”
I was shaking. The one to save them? I didn’t even have magic. I'm just a human.
“Shana, you possess no power, but you are one of the most important people in Rezta.” He sighed. “Long ago before I was born, a creature of darkness and evil was created called… Morphius. He is a master of darkness and has a hatred for anything with power that can challenge him.”
“Why?” It made no sense to be hateful of what you are.
“How much do you know of destinies, young one?” Grint straightened on his chair.
“They tell you the future.”
“No, those are prophesies. Destinies are people’s fate. Many years ago before I was born, Morphius had a prophecy that he would be killed by a goddess of magic. Many people have turned up over the years with possibilities, but I have been watching you because of your connections.”
Hendric cleared his throat and glowered at Grint.
“Can’t anybody else do this?” I said sharply. Mary gave a sharp intake of air.
Grint sighed. I knew he was not yet finished, but I wouldn’t do anything until I knew the answer to this question.[RBS5]
“There was someone else, long ago. He was… He was taken by Morphius and…” he sighed heavily.
Mia leaned forward in her chair slightly. “You sent him to his death.”
“No, he is being held prisoner,” said Thorn.
“What was his name?” My voice sounded distant.
“Joshua,” mumbled Mary.
“I thought you said a goddess of magic? Isn’t a goddess a woman?”
“He asked the same question as you did.” Mary paled and clutched her stomach. “We told him no, but he went anyway in… the…” Mary was sobbing hard. Anna walked over to her and knelt down to grasp her hand.
“We will get him back, I promise you.” Mary put her hand on Anna’s, and they exchanged hopeful glances.
I felt sorry for them, but this place was absolutely nuts. Hey, maybe the bottle hit my head so hard I was now in a coma and having a really vivid dream.
Then a thought struck me. “What do you mean he’s being held prisoner? He’s not still there is he?”
“No,” said Grint, “he was cast into a statue. He still has a subconscious, but it will take magic of great strength and willpower to change him back.” He looked deep in thought.
“Why can’t you do it?” Mia said sharply, standing up.
“Mia you must understand, if I leave this palace Morphius will invade it.”
“Mia, he didn’t say you have to go anywhere,” I said, trying to calm her before she could pick up a sword.
Mia looked at me as if I had pulled a joke then looked at Grint.
“I see you keep out of her head,” she accused in a bitter tone.
“I have no business in her head.”
“What do you need in my head?!” Note to self: Mia has a quick temper.
“I need to keep in touch from long distances.” Grint was smiling at Mia. She gave him a cold glare.
“What do mean, long distances? Where is Mia going?” This made no sense. Mia has to go far away. Mia turned to give me a bewildered look.
“You know you’re going too, right?”
“What? Where?” Realisation hit. “You’re sending me to the same place as Joshua?” I was now on my feet next to Mia. I was about to tell him where to go, but Grint was no longer looking at my face but at my neck. I felt a warm glow on my neck and looked down. My necklace was glowing.
“What are you doing to my necklace?” Mia backed away slowly towards Thorn and Hendric. Grint, Mary, and Anna were backing away from me as if I were a leper.
“Shana, I'm not doing anything. Try to calm down and I will explain everything you need to hear.”
I was confused, but I took deep breaths and calmed down. They still kept their distance. I looked at her; she looked sixteen years old but was still so much more mature than me. I couldn’t believe it. They wanted to send me away on a suicide mission when I had just got here. I wished I had died and it could all be over with.
“Why send me here when—[ASI6]” A jar flew across the room and books started falling off the shelves, interrupting my train of thought. I ducked out the way of another vase. Holy crap! What was going on? The heat from my necklace stopped, the vases dropped in mid-air, and the books stopped falling. They were all backed against the wall except Mia, who was standing beside me with her hands up, keeping a jar a millimetre away from her head.
“Mia, were you scared of me?” I’d hate myself if I’d frightened her.
“No, I wasn’t frightened of you.” She shook her head. “Just what you could have done”
“What do you mean?” She sighed.
“Shana, that necklace – it’s so powerful you can do anything if you want, and if you lost control, anything could have happened.” Everyone had taken their places, but they were still on red alert.
“But I have no power. How is that possible?”
“Shana, that necklace – I don’t know if it is what I think it is.” Grint fidgeted with his hands. “But it holds so much power. I can sense the power emanating from it, and it’s the most powerful thing I have ever sensed. Do you know where you got it from?” I looked at Mia for help. But her face was just as interested as Grint’s was.
“I don’t know.” I was now looking into Mia’s eyes waiting for an explanation.
“It’s because it’s a part of you. Ever since birth, you were meant to have this.” She pulled back in to her seat. I turned to face Grint.
“What?” My face was blank.
He looked at me as if I’d just won the lottery.
“That necklace – it can’t be!” Grint looked as if he had only just tuned in to the conversation. Enough was enough! They kept changing the conversation, and I was having none of it.
“But why do you want me and Mia to go?” I was so annoyed. He was so frustrating. I felt myself shaking – I already knew the answer on some level.
“I want you, Mia, Hendric, Thorn, and Anna to rescue Joshua and bring him back, because we are in a war.” The finality of his words was strong. I didn’t dare argue.
“Of course” I looked up at Grint. “Why didn’t I see it? Go, all of you.”
After being told to go on a suicide mission, Mia and I walked towards the door to go upstairs.
“Do you know the way?” asked Mary.
“Yes, we’ll be fine. Come on, I’ll show you the way to your room. I know you have some questions for me.” Mia turned her head away from me.
We walked towards the staircase, but I couldn’t help but stop in front of the pole again.
“This is Joshua fighting Morphius, isn’t it?” I asked in toneless voice. I shivered as I looked at the dark figure looming over Joshua.
Mia just walked ahead. I hurried after her, not wanting to lose her and get lost again.
We walked up the stairs and along the landing, taking a lot of twists and turns that I knew I wouldn’t remember in the future. We arrived outside my door. I had not noticed before how grand the door was, but it had a huge carving of a woman. She had beautiful flowing hair[RBS7]. She was striking her sword in the air; lightning was carved out behind her as if she was a hero. I almost recognised the face, but the familiarity was too improbable to be true.
“Do you know her?” Curiosity was straining her voice.
“No, I don’t.”
I looked away and opened the door; Mia followed me in. She walked straight over to the window and sat comfortably on the ledge.
“That lady on the door. Who is she?” Mia didn’t seem to think at all before answering.
“A lady called Krystith; she was a powerful sorcerer, also a great hero but a prisoner to her duties in Rezta. She served this world well, until the end.” Mia avoided eye contact. Maybe I should change the subject.
“How did you get here?” Maybe that was not a good subject either, considering how I got here…
She gave a sigh and sat silently for a moment. “It’s too long a story to tell, so I’ll show you.”
My sight blurred, and I was no longer myself. I seemed to be watching an old woman, dressed in maid’s clothes, standing in an old kitchen.
“Hilda!” Another women’s voice boomed around the kitchen. A tall slender woman walked through a double door. “Hilda, I must speak with you about Mia.” Hilda became apprehensive. “You know I cannot condone what she does, so I would like you to put an end to it. I want you to put this in her drink tonight for supper.” She fished in her pocket and pulled out a bottle and handed it to Hilda. “Have it done tonight, and I will make it my personal business that your son gets out of that terrible execution sentence tomorrow and make sure he gets set up nice and comfortable in a cosy little house.” Hilda wiped her eyes free of tears.
The women left and Hilda was alone. She hadn’t moved for what seemed like ages, when a girl in pig-tails came in the kitchen. “Oh, Miss Mia, how are you today?” Hilda looked pale. Mia giggled; her pale pink face and rosy cheeks made her seem like a two year old.
“I’m fine. Mother just said sorry to me in public for not understanding my gifts. Isn’t that great?”
Mia looked so young and sweet. “Yes, honey, absolutely wonderful. I’m making your favourite tonight – chicken and potatoes. So run along so I can get it done.”
Mia walked out of the room to a huge, wide hall with lots of large windows. Mia’s little pig tails bobbed with each step she took. Her pale yellow dress caught the sun as she passed each huge window, making her look like an angel. I followed her to a huge dining room and looked around at the people. She smiled at someone and waved. She walked up to the lady who had asked Hilda to kill her.
“Mother!” Mia hugged the lady.
Oh my god! Her mother wants to kill her.
“Mia, come sit and dine with us.”
Mia and her murderous mother went and sat at the top of the table. The dinner was brought in, and Mia was smiling with her mother. Mia’s mother stood up and raised her cup.
“To my beautiful, talented daughter!” Her mother looked lovingly at Mia.
Mia beamed at her mother. It made me sick to think was about to happen. Mia’s mother drank from her cup, and Mia picked up her cup to do the same.