Thesila Prophecy ... The Journey Home

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Chapter 1

Submitted: May 15, 2019

Reads: 81

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Submitted: May 15, 2019

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CHAPTER 1

http://www.thesilaprophecy.com/world/

 

 

 

The Cave

 A young man wearing an iridescent green bespoken outfit creeps through the forest like a cat.  His fancy recurve bow in one hand with an arrow nocked but relaxed.  Not even the birds seem to realize his presence as he skirts the edge of forest meadow.  Stalks of amber grass about waist-high stretch to a thick wall of morning fog hanging over the grass about a bow shot from the tree line.  The fog should not be there he thinks as he moves closer one silent step at a time.  From the mist, dozens of ice shards fly toward him like arrows.  He drops to the ground just as the shards pass over, shattering on the nearby trees.  He looks up to see an ice ball coming towards him, growing larger as it approaches. Just before it gets to him, he rolls to the side into the mist.

 He finds himself in a town square laying on a wood platform holding two curved swords. Across the platform, is a short, stocky man wearing scale armor and wielding a large double bit battle-ax. Around the platform are scores of people wearing furs of different colors and styles, all laughing and pointing at him. He stands up and shakes his head trying to figure out what happened, just before seeing the ax heading his direction. He gets a sword up to block the blow but is staggered back to the edge.  He ducks and weaves avoiding the mighty axe, most of the time.  Using the swords to guard is fruitless as the ax plows through them with the force to send him flying across the platform. When a quick double-handed swing connects, it sends his swords flying in different directions. He hits hard sliding across the platform to the edge and over into a forked tree branch.  

Pinned between several tree branches, he looks around bewildered.  Tangled up in an uprooted tree that is rolling in a turbulent river.  His wet clothes have changed to flat green and brown with rips sewn close. He feels the icy waters sucking the energy out of him, as his feet and hands turn blue and hard to move.  The force of the water jamming him into the branches, as he fights to get unstuck and climb his way up out of the water, only to have the tree roll, sending him under.  Fighting the cold, he scrambles through the branches to get his head above the surface, for some air.  The water steals his strength with exponential speed as the tree spins and bounces about in the raging river.  Taking a gulp of air just before the tree spins again forcing him into the dark water once more.

He opens his eyes gasping for air and sees two men on horseback barreling down on him out of the darkness.  Taking a quick look around, he is on the edge of a mixed forest of conifer and deciduous trees.  Drawing the two slender curved swords, he runs deeper into the wood for cover.  Hiding behind a tree, he does not want to do what he must.  Get the riders off the horses any way he can.  The horsemen split into a search pattern, weaving around the trees with the swords ready to strike.  His back to a tree, he listens for the riders.  His heart pounding in his chest as his chest rises and falls, with a steady ringing in his ears, he takes a couple deep breaths to collect his thoughts.  A branch breaks on the tree next to him, and he swings his sword around sending horse and rider to the ground. The rider tumbles and lands on his feet, sword, and shield, ready for the inevitable fight. The other horse rider also moves in for the kill. The swordsman on the ground advances swinging his sword in deliberate arcs. The shield knocks his swords aside as the unhorsed man brings the sword down.

Mashaun jerks awake springing to an upright position in bed, sweat pours down his brow and his pillow-soaking wet. Shaking his head, he looks around.  It is dark, except for a dull glow of light radiating from the ceiling.  He thinks this is strange since his bedroom in Tianjin doesn't have a skylight. His regular hard Chinese bed feels even harder, like a cold rock.  His satin sheets have become a heavy, coarse animal fur.  He sits up swinging his feet over the side of a rectangular pedestal about the size of a large bed.  Trying to absorb his new surroundings, he wipes the sleep from his turquoise eyes and sees a room that obviously is not his bedroom.  Except for the distant echo of a waterfall, silence replaces the usual city sounds heard in the morning. As the room comes into focus, he sees what appears to be a cavernous domed room with an orange glow at the end of a long passage.  As the fog of sleep dissipates, it dawns on him that he is inside a huge rock igloo.

There are another four empty stone pedestals projecting up about two feet from the floor along the back edge of the room, each with a different colored fur blanket.  At the end is a table that like the beds appear grown from the rock floor.  In the center of the domed ceiling is a circular opening allowing light into the room.  On one side is a dark, shadowy doorway with the sound of falling water echoing from the darkness.  He slowly stands feeling the cool, moist air on his naked body and the smooth tile-like rock floor beneath his feet.  The combination of the cold floor and the still air untouched by any heat seems to cut like a knife to the bone. Looking around for something to wear, he settles for the brown fur blanket on his bed. Wrapping it around himself like an over-sized toga, it warms him and gives him a sense of security.  Even alone, he is more comfortable wearing something.

The room brightens like the rising sun of morning, chasing the darkness away revealing the smooth coffee-colored obsidian-like walls. It appears clean, no rocks, loose dirt, or even dust anywhere. The flat floor gently slopes down to a shallow bowl in the center of the room, directly below the hole in the ceiling. The long passage has a similar slope, from the walls to the center, extending from the bowl to the orange glow, which has become more yellow. There is also a shallow trough leading into the shadowy doorway, creating a natural drainage system. Not far to the right of the darkened door is a colored map, embedded on the wall, showing mountains, rivers, castles of different sizes, and many symbols that look like caves.

The sound of the falling water becomes louder as Mashaun approaches the nearby, darkened doorway.  As he nears the shadow door, his fur collects the warm mist that lingers in the air, not cold as he expected.  The nearby wall covered with condensation from the warm mist meeting the cool rock. Water runs down the wall in micro streams to the floor, into the depression, and back into the room.  He touches the wall, and to his surprise, it is wet but not slippery, just like the floor beneath his feet.  There is no moss, or slime, which he half expected from the constant moisture.  Stepping through the shadow door, he enters another room. His silhouette disappears in the swirling mist. On the far side of the room, a couple of spheres emit light, no brighter than a candle.  With each step, the balls brighten until they fill the room with an eerie white light.

To his right, a water fall about twelve feet high crashes down onto a course flat rock. Before emptying into a stream flowing the length of the room then disappears under the wall on his left. Along the left wall, there is a stone shelf with an oval hole over the middle the stream, just above where the water disappears.  Halfway between the falls and the shelf is a pool, of bubbling, steaming water, Separated from the stream by rocks of various shapes and sizes. The consistent splashing of the waterfall and the subtle bubbling from the pool echo’s in the rectangular room, calming the senses, as a wave of peacefulness washes over him. Three paths lead from the door, one to the shelf over the stream, one down to the pool, and one to the falls. The pool water is murky, reminding him of a natural hot spring without the odor. With the caution of stepping into a steaming tub, he sticks his toe into the water and finds that it’s a little warmer than bath water.  Laying his fur on the rocks, he slowly slides into the Jacuzzi like pool, letting the bubbling water chase the chill away.  Time itself seems to stop as his hand slips into the cold stream startling him, as he drifts into quiescence.  Enjoying the dream, thinking that all he needs now is a beautiful girl to join him.

***===***

Mai awakens groggily and is oblivious to her surroundings as she sits up to get ready for a medical midterm.  She spent the previous night cramming for the test with a few friends, and it was well after midnight before she got to bed.  Mai searches for her robe on the foot of her bed, but it’s not there and just brushes it off as misplaced, again. Following the sound of falling water, she shuffles into the bathroom for a morning shower. Feeling the mist, she asks her roommate Christel, “how much longer, but doesn’t get a response. Assuming her roommate is already in the shower, as she enters the room.  Maybe it is her nightgown sticking to her skin, or the stranger napping in a tub that they don’t have, or the cold, wet floor beneath her feet.  Her senses come rushing back like a freight train as she suddenly realizes that this is not her dorm room. Her mind racing as she remembers the previous night. She stands there in shock, frozen like a mannequin in a store window, trying to comprehend her surroundings, not sure if the person in the tub is real or a dream.

***===***

Jerking his head up and looking toward the door, Mashaun sees a young woman in her late teens or early twenties wearing a long sheer purple nightgown that the mist has begun to dampen.  The gown clings to her lovely body.  He stares at her in disbelief, this vision of beauty frozen there like a rock.  Several times, he motions for her to come down to the pool, telling her that it is warm and helps against the chill. She just stands there like a statue except for the slow raising and lowering of her chest with every breath.

Mashaun climbs out of the pool wrapping himself in the fur at the same time. She has goose bumps all over and stares blankly straight ahead. The mist further saturates her nightgown, revealing every curve.  She appears Asian with almond-shaped green eyes and waist-long pomegranate color hair.  He stands there for a moment, admiring her smooth, flawless skin and the soft flowing lines of her body in almost disbelief.  He wonders if she is part of his dream, or is she a dream within a dream.

He waves his hand in front of her face, but she does not flinch.  He gently touches her shoulder, which is cold and clammy, again, she does not move.  “Don’t move,” he foolishly says and retrieves one of the other furs to wrap around her.  Slowly her face relaxes, losing its stunned expression. A moment later, she slowly turns her head to look at him.  Still glassy eyed and confused, she allows Mashaun gently takes her arm, leading her down the path to the pool.

“Get in.  You’ll feel much better,” he says, and then turns to leave.

Mai hates being alone, almost to the point of having a mild phobia.  Growing up in a large family, there was always someone around, and she was popular in school with lots of friends.  In her dream, this stranger is kind and gentle, offering to give her space that she doesn't want.  Mai mulls over her options in an instance, deciding that it is better to share the pool with this stranger than to be by herself. She lightly grabs his arm.

“Don’t leave,” she pleads in a soft, frightened voice.

Mashaun agrees, and then he helps her take off the fur and places it on a nearby rock.  Mai slides into the warm water.  While she is moving to the other side of the pool, he quickly gets into the water.  She, at least, has a nightgown, which is more than he is wearing, and that makes him a little uncomfortable. 

This has to be a dream, he thinks.  Sitting across him is this picture of his dream girl.  As the water warms her up, she becomes more relaxed as the goose bumps disappear.  The murky water prevents him from seeing anything below the surface, only a couple of purple straps over her shoulders are visible.  He has always been a little shy, and this moment is no exception as he sits there admiring her, all the while not knowing what to say and feeling a little embarrassed about the situation.

Mai looks him over, thinking that he is not exactly what she would call handsome, but he's not bad looking either.  He is a gentleman, almost too nice, and that worries her, wondering about his ulterior motives.  She eventually realizes that he isn't going to say anything. A nervous smile creeps on her face as she introduces herself as Mai from Quezon City.

Shyly, he introduces himself as Mashaun, telling her that he lives in China but is originally from the United States.

She asks, “Where did you learn to speak Filipino?”

“Filipino?  You’re speaking English,” he replies, surprised.

“No, I speak Filipino.  My English is no good.”

“How can we understand each other if we speak different languages?”  He asks, perplexed.

In an uncomfortable silence, they sit in the pool, pondering this revelation, both feeling a little uneasy while at the same time safer in each other’s company. Relaxed, Mai begins to talk non-stop about her home.  

“I’m going to check out the rest of the cave. Will you be OK here?”  Mashaun asks before turning to get his fur, getting it wet as he gets out of the pool.

“Wait!”  She says. “I’ll come with you.  Will you hand me my fur?” She does not want to be alone.

Mashaun holds the fur up so she can wrap herself.  Holding their fur skins in place, they go through the door into the large room.  It is well lit, showing everything clearly now.  Five pedestal beds line the semi circle wall to the left, each with five geometric symbols embedded in the rock.  Four identical shapes flank an irregular one in the middle.  The symbols are dark on the two they woke up on while the other three have a slight red glow within the symbols themselves.  The map to their left reveals a lot more detail in the light.  Next to the pictures are strange symbols that the darkness hid.  Directly across from them is the small pedestal about the height of dining table, full of dried meats and fruits with some drinks in stone cups.

After looking at each other and realizing that they’re hungry, they devour some meat and fruit washing them down with some juice from the cups that never seem to empty.  The meat tastes like mild venison while the fruits look like apples, oranges, and pears, but they have a different flavor to them.  There are three differently colored jade-like mugs, mugs, each with a liquid tasting a little like pineapple, orange, and cranberry juice.

The walls of the arched passageway are smooth and polished instead of rough like a dug tunnel, surprising both of them. The wall of orange glow is now white.  Just as Mashaun thinks, it is the cave entrance leading to the outside world.  They step out of the cave into the warm sunshine beneath a cloudless sky and scan the scenery.  The entrance is several yards up a cliff face, with loose rocks angling down from them to a grassy meadow full of wildflowers that fill the air with their fragrance.  They listen for any sounds of civilization but only hear the buzzing of insects and birds in the trees.  He takes a deep breath enjoying the smells and clean air while Mai nervously looks around at the openness, taking a few steps back behind him.

Mashaun loves the outdoors spending years hiking, backpacking, and hunting in the western States.  Those were some of his happiest times, and this is even better.  He is glad that he spent the time learning some survival skills in case something happened where he was stuck in the wilderness longer than expected.

“Listen. . . What do you hear?” he asks Mai.

“Nothing, I don’t hear a thing,” she answers uncomfortably, peeking out from behind him.

“Exactly, no traffic, no horns blaring, no cell phones, just the sounds of nature in its purest form,” he explains, smiling.

“You actually like this?”  She asks, shaking her head while looking at him as though he were crazy.

“Yes,” he responds.

There is a pair of wagon ruts coming out of pine-like trees on the left, crossing in front of the cave, and disappearing into the forest again to their right.  On the other side of the ruts, tall trees with thick underbrush surround the medium-sized meadow. Off to the right, by the fringe and next to the trail are a couple of rock circles with black centers looking like used fire pits.

Mashaun looks around for some rocks to make a knife when he comes across the only shiny black rock in a pile of common rocks and boulders.  The shiny rock already has the shape of a knife and just needs a little sharpening for his purpose.  Not thinking much of it, he chooses an oval rock and returns to Mai.

“What are you going to do?”  She asks curiously with a tremor in her voice.

“Watch,” he tells her and sits down to chip the obsidian rock so that one edge is razor sharp.  He proceeds to cut parts from a section of fur to wrap around his feet before cutting a long section that he ties around his waist to keep the toga closed without constantly having to hold it.  She watches intently before asking if he would do the same for her, handing him her fur.  She sits next to him in her semi-dry nightgown, which isn’t as revealing when dry, as he makes the robes.

They trade stories about the homes they knew before.  Well, mostly Mai talks and he listens, sometimes wishing that she would just quit talking.  During the conversation, he notices that she has pierced ears with two earrings in each ear.  They appear to be tiny diamonds and emeralds, thinking those might come in handy should they need some money.

It takes the rest of the morning to finish both outfits, by the time he’s done, the sun has moved behind them, casting a shadow over the cliff wall. He tells her that they should get some firewood for the night in case it gets cold. She agrees, and they head down the rocky slope to the meadow. Turning around to help her off the rocks, he notices the cave has disappeared.

“Look!” he says as she turns to look back at the cave entrance.

“Where’s the cave?”  She asks nervously.

“I don’t know,” Mashaun replies.

He goes back up the rocks to where he thinks it is and reaches out to touch the wall, and his hand disappears into the cliff face.  Stepping forward, he is back in the cave, turning around, he sees Mai scrambling up the rocks, yelling for him. He steps out of the cave, and she stops.

“Where did you go?”  She asks.

“Back into the cave.  The wall, it’s not real, it’s an illusion!”  He says excitedly.

“A what?”  She replies.

“An illusion, something that appears different than it really is.  I have seen magicians create illusions.  I have even seen three dimensional holograms, but nothing even close to this,” he admits a little excitedly.

“A hologram?” She inquires.  

“Never mind, I’ll tell you later.”

Both of them stare at the rock wall then look at each other as though each wants to say something, but don’t.  Mashaun stacks up a few rocks into a small cairn to mark the entrance before going to gather some firewood and dried grasses from the meadow, telling her to stay away from the forest edge, not knowing what’s out there.  After several trips to the entrance with armloads of wood, Mai goes into the cave and proceeds to shuttle the wood to the back of the cave.  Mashaun continues to gather more wood and some dry grasses along with some rocks to make a fire ring.  He plans to use the hot rocks to help stay warm by putting some under the furs.

“OK, how are we going to start the fire?”  She asks curiously with a tone of skepticism.

“Watch,” he says, finding two rocks that would spark.  It takes some time, but he gets a small fire going and slowly nurses it up to where it is putting out enough heat for both of them.  With the coming of night, the light gives way to the darkness as the flickering flames keep the shadows of the night at bay along with the chilly night air.  The perfectly designed room amplifies both the light and heat to the center. Warming the room faster than expected, shortly they have to remove some of the wood from the fire to cool it down.

“Look, the walls! They’re changing,” she says, startled.

 


© Copyright 2019 Robert Rumble. All rights reserved.

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