Sunday, November 16, 2008

Six Years After The Night: Silvia's Story

"Mama, will you tell us that story again?" The little girl asked, "Which one would that be?" "You know! The one with the girls that saved the world!" she exclaimed! "Yes I know sweetie, but haven't you already memorized the whole thing?" The mother asked. "Yeah, but its better when you tell it" she said in a pleading voice. The mother laughed and walked over to sit at the edge of her little girls bed "Okay," she began,"It all started with two girls...

"...As they prepared to leave through the magyk tunnel" "Oh! I know, I know!!!" shouted the little girl excitedly." How about you tell me then" asked her mother. "Okay" she took a deep breath "So, Gale grabbed Astra and pulled her to the last of the line, and asked her that if they were alive when they beat the bad guys if she would make him happy and marry him. She was super happy and said yes. Then they went through the magyk hole, and when they came out of the hole, they were in this dark place and got scared." She stopped. "That's right. Go ahead and finish the story, Luna" her mother urged. "Nu-uh! You finish." she exclaimed. "Alright then. So, as they stepped out of the Time Discharge, a dark force made them want to turn back, but they knew that if they turned back now, all the worlds would be prisoners of Rax, so with all the courage they could muster "whats 'muster' again?" interrupted Luna. " It means 'to bring together to them' "Oh. I 'member now. Keep finishing." "Okay. So, with all the courage they could muster, they took a big step forward, and with that step they knew what they had to do, and had the guts to do it "eeewwww" she heard from her little girl. She smiled and continued "And just as they took one more step, they heard a HUGE thunder above them and a big voice like the thunder said "Welcome, you have now reached your end, and final destination!" Then it laughed and a bolt of lightening struck right in front of them, creating a huge hole. Then just as the voice laughed and prepared to strike once more, the Opalf that Astra had given Xandra shot out of Xandra's pocket, because taking Astra's advice she had smartly brought it with her. Well the Opalf shot out of her pocket and sent up a barrier protecting all of them from the power of the lightening. This made Rax mad, so he decided to start an earthquake to eat them up into the ground. And the magyk barrier protected them from this too. Except that it made the hole bigger, and crack, so it was like the earth had broken in two.

"Things went on like this for quite some time, Rax shooting lightening, and the barrier stopping it, before Astra said to Xandra that they should probably think of a way to stop Rax in case the the barrier decided not to protect them anymore. So everyone gathered in a circle and started to think. Finally Astra's brother Ben thought up a plan. He told everyone what they should do, and they all agreed.

As they stood, and started getting ready to carry out their plan, Rax appeared before them, which happened to ruin their whole plan." Once more she was interrupted by her small child's hand which had risen into the air. "Yes?" She asked. "Well, I was just wondering what the plan was..." "Hmmm, well, I'm sorry Luna, but I cant seem to remember either." "Oh" she said sounding slightly disappointed. "That's okay. Keep going!" She replied after a minute, once again excited.

"Okay, we're almost done, so let me finish before you ask anymore questions, 'Kay." "Kay!"

"So, the plan was ruined, and everyone was in despair, despair means that they didn't think they could win and everyone was going to die."

"As Rax started walking towards them, they all huddled close together, so they could be by the people they loved as they died. As Rax prepared to strike, with a scary smile on his face, a smoky white figure appeared before them and said, "Remember, The Gift...." and it faded again. Everyone was really surprised, but recovered from it quickly."

"As Rax started to come forward again, the other sister, Silvia, went into a sort of trance. She told them that she knew what The Gift was. She told them that she had read once the the most powerful Gift of any kind was the Gift of Light, which also included hope and love and all the forces of good. And then she snapped out of it. And the two girls realized that they both had the Gift. It wasn't just Xandra who possessed it, but all of them, and they wouldn't have even come to this place to face Rax if they didn't have at least some amount of it. Everyone had a small amount of it inside their hearts. And they decided to use it against the evil Rax."

"They all realized this at the perfect time, because they jumped out of the way, in every direction, just as the lightening hit where they had just been."

"Rax was surprised again, and when he went to attack again, he didn't seem as sure that he would win."

"The girls and men, started fighting back when they decided not to give up. And just by dodging the lightening they were winning, because Rax could see that they were determined to live and to save The Relms. As they fought back with this determination, Rax started slowly taking steps backward. What he didn't realize was that he was headed strait for the crack in the ground. Well, he didn't realize that he had until he fell into it. He was so stunned that he didn't have the time to save himself and he fell right into the center of the planet, where he was sealed into it."

"The winners were also surprised by the fact that the great Rax had only been overwhelmed by their determination, and hope, and his downfall had been falling through a crack, but they were also glad that they hadn't been destroyed before he had gained his confidence again."

" They created another discharge and went back to the Heart, where they all rested and later had a double wedding with Silvia and Astra as the brides, with Xandra as the bridesmaid for both of them, and Gale and Teknuron (it seemed that Silvia and him had a case of love at first sight, and Silvia wasn't that happy about it, because she knew it was illogical, and that's why she had been a little mean and sided with Astra when they were having the weird discussion about Tze flies and the Zoollogs of Calista) as the grooms with Ben as the best-man for both of them."

"Astra told Ben that they were related and he said that he knew there was some reason he always liked her, and they all had their honeymoons in different parts of The Relms"

"And after that they all lived happily ever after. The End"

She looked down at her sleepy daughter and gave her a kiss on the forehead, and said goodnight. As she got back to her room her husband asked what had taken so long for her to get Luna to bed. "She wanted a story" she replied. "Which one?" he asked. "Ours." She said and went over to the bed immersed in remembrances of her younger self and looking forward to the Family Reunion just around the corner.

Here Ends This Story

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Day of the Night of Rudeth - Journal Entry


Oh Stars give us strength!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Diary Entry After The 13th Letter

Day Before The Night

So, now she believes me. After all that I told her trying to explain myself and to convince her that I was telling the truth, she believes everything after one night with Ben. Well, if I had know that was all it would have taken, I would have made him tell her from the start!

But I guess that I shall have to forgive her for not believing me since I wont forgive her for having her wedding without me, again. My joy at being her sister-in-law is almost outshone by my feeling of a slight amount of anger and other mixed emotions.

Anyway, with other news. Gale and I had another disagreement. About him leaving. Of course he won, again. I really wish that he would leave. Because although Xandra may be wrong about him fancying me, if she guessed that I didn't really hate him, she'd be right. He just gets in my way.

Ben and Xandra should be arriving tonight.


They're here! I'm so happy to see my new sister-in-law that I have almost forgotten about my earlier anger. I take back my earlier judgement about them not being able to stand each other. They make the most charming couple anyone could ever imagine.

We spent the most part of the afternoon catching up on the little details that couldn't be included in our letters. Then went to the best dinner I've had since I left Quest with Silvia, who by-the-way found a magyk book in the Buckner's library that contained a transport spell, and arrived just after dessert.

After Xandra was done telling Silvia all that had occurred in all the letters that she had never sent to her sister, I told them the news...

About Rax...

About the Xar...

About, how Rax is the Xar...

I'm positive that at first they didn't believe a word that I said, but just at the moment when they were about to start questioning my sanity, Teknuron, the current leader of Nebeula, pushed thought the large wooden doors at the end of the dinning hall, and said. " I think that its about time that you all knew that the pumpkins at the edge of the garden are still green, while the tomatoes are red at the other edge."

The entire conversation was turned around, and everyone started to question how a man such as this could have ever possibly be elected to lead Nebeula.

Surprisingly Silvia didn't say a word the entire time Teknuron was speaking.

Just as we started to discuss the probability that Flaggans and the Tze Flies were allying against the Zoollogs of Calista, when suddenly Silvia said " I believe you Astra" I had forgotten about the news against the Xar before she had said that. I opened my mouth to answer her when Teknuron spoke first " Why is that?" he asked. And I still don't believe what really happened really happened, but as far as my mind heard she said, in these exact words, " Because as soon as I began to question her sanity, you came in. After hearing you conversing with everyone, I realized that there was no way in the Galaxy that you were in your right mind, so Astra must be in hers." It was mostly her tone that threw me. I know that she never enjoyed unintelligent conversation, but I couldn't believe that she could say something like that to someone that she had just met, which leads me to believe that there is something I don't know about going on.

But, what she had said swayed the others into believing me as well. And now we have begun preparations in getting the Xar to go to the Last Battleground on Cimmerian. Where we hope to stop him, somehow, forever.

But I have a feeling that we will be winging it most of the time.

If I survive, which I plan on doing, I will recount the events of tomorrow. Hopefully if anyone ever finds this, articles will be available from Xandra's histories, that will prove that I am not completely insane.

Wishing Luck To Ones-Self!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thirteenth Letter - By Opalf

Dear Astra,

One Day 'til the Night of Rudeth

Um, how do I tell you this? Well, you won't be able to be at my wedding, because I already had it.
I am so very sorry, but it was such an unexpected thing and there simply wasn't time to let you know about it. But here is the story and hopefully it will make up for your absence.
Ben and I fought unendingly, never approaching the subject of my recently missed wedding but always finding a bone to pick nonetheless.
It was a dark and cold night, the moon refused to give her light and the flames of the campfire were all that kept the darkness from enveloping us. Ben and I sat opposite each other by the fire, for once in silence, tired of the upkeep of an arugment.
I sat huddled in the thick blanket Ben had given me, staring into the dancing flames, my mind refusing to lift to higher heights than when I should leave the warmth of the fire and go to bed.
I was so caught up in my lack of thoughts, that I barely noticed the presence of Ben, now by my side, his arm around my shoulders, rubbing gently to get the blood flowing in his hand and my arm.
I unconsciously leaned my head against him and we sat thus for a few minutes, each soaking in the comforts of the touch of a human being.
When Ben began to speak, I let myself cuddle closer against him and listen to the richness of his voice. I cannot recall the exact words that were spoken, but he related to me his different endeavors to keep me safe in my travels, his having to leave when I went to stay at the palace, and the sudden and dreadful news of my wedding and subsequent orders from Nebeula to change my mind.
He told me dreadful things about the Xar, things he had been doing when my back was turned and how he had kept me close to him so I would not see what exactly was going on in the Palace. All this time I had been with Ben, I had told myself over and over, that whatever fantastic story he would try to tell me, I would not believe it and that I would stay firm in my belief of the goodness of the Xar.
But as I sat in the warmth of the fire and Ben's arm, I found myself believing every word he spoke. He explained everything so simply and perfectly that I could have no thought of doubting his words. I don't know when, but I eventually fell asleep and he took me to bed, leaving me with the majority of his blankets.
I had dreams that night that any other time I would have scorned and laid at fancies door, but they were so vivid and real that when I awoke, I knew that they were nothing less than the proof of all your fantastic stories. I dreamed of Nokturne and his ordeals, of Rax and his terrible doings, then and now, and of the powers of the Gift. I dreamed of some things I cannot even recall, but I know are there. So, dear friend, through my dreams and Ben's words, I am convinced of your story.
Perhaps if I had heard your urgings directly from you and not through letters, I would have been convinced earlier. But whatever may have happened, I am convinced.
But to continue with my story, the next morning, I awoke to the smell of a wonderful breakfast and Ben was kind enough to bring it into me, it being a frightfully cold morning. He sat with me and we ate in silence, unsure of what to speak of, now that neither of us cared to argue any longer.
When we did begin to talk, you would have been hard pressed to stop us. I told Ben of my dreams and he told me all he could of what he knew of the stories. He told me of you and his teaching you and of Nebeula and all sorts of things. We talked nearly the whole day through and when night came, we went out to the fire and continued to talk, cuddled against each other for warmth and comfort.
When it was late and I was growing tired, I announced that I was going to sleep. Ben helped me up and took me to my tent and then he did the most wonderful thing.
We stood just outside the tent and he held me back, refusing to let me enter. I pushed him and laughed saying he was being silly and that I wanted to go to bed. He pulled me tight against him then and without giving me a moment to draw breath, his lips were against mine, taking all my love while giving all his to me. My arms were around his neck and his around my waist, holding me tight and lifting me so that my feet barely touched the ground.
When we drew apart, he mumbled that I should go to bed and I mumbled back that I wasn't tired anymore. He laughed and swatted me, ushering me into the tent with a smile on his face. He told me to get some sleep and he would be back in the morning but he had some things to see to in the nearest town.
I didn't sleep a wink. Or perhaps I did, for I dreamt whether I was asleep or awake.
I was up early the next morning, and Ben was still gone. My heart was beating hard as I prepared breakfast at the remains of the fire and I could not keep from singing.
When Ben came riding into camp, I dropped the breakfast and rushed to him. He swung down and caught me in his arms, giving me no time for words as he did the most wonderful thing again. When we finished kissing, I remembered that I had dropped the breakfast and he laughed at my downcast face saying that he was in no mood for food and I would not likely be either once he showed me what he had got me.
He then took a large bundle from the saddle and brought out the most beautiful gown I have ever seen. To be sure, it was not as elegant or luxurious as my first wedding gown, but it was white and that was all that mattered to me! For Ben gave it to me and told me to be as quick as possible for we had a meeting with the pastor in an hour and a half.
I could not have gone quicker if Rax himself were after me. We met up again and kissed again and were soon on our way to the nearest Chapel.
On our way, I berated Ben for not proposing but he scolded me, asking me if I had ever recieved a better proposal than the one given me last night. I was content and we hurried on.
The ceremony was beautiful! Our witnesses were two Woc sheperds from the small town and the pastor looked as if he would shudder his last shudder any moment. But my eyes were on Ben and I have never seen or heard anything more beautiful than what transpired in that run down Chapel. He gave me the beautiful sapphire ring he had first put in my dessert and I gave him a plain gold band I bought at the local store. I feel like a queen!
So, there you have it, my dear SISTER-IN-LAW!!! I am married to the most wonderful man in the world and I have never been so happy! And you had better change your opinion about us getting on well together, for we shall be the happiest couple in the world!

In The Greatest Happiness a Woman Can Know,
Mrs. Xandra Steel

Ben does not know you are his sister and I have not told him, though it has been ever so hard to not let him know that apart from being his WIFE, I have the pleasure of now being your sister!
When we see each other, you must tell me how you found out and why you are not supposed to know. We have much to speak of.

Yes, you do talk in your sleep, and frequently at that. I meant to tell you sooner, but I have had so much fun listening to you and was afraid that you would try to stop yourself if you knew. It is amazing that I didn't learn about Nebeula sooner, from your talking. :)
Do not be too hard on Gale, you can be merciless with your teasing. Personally, I like what you have told me of him and think it very sweet that he has stayed with you this long. He must have taken a good fancy to you to endure your teasing and contriving this long.

Be safe my dear sister-in-law! May we meet in safety in the heart of Corinth.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

12th Letter

You cannot even begin to believe how grateful to Benden I am right now! I did not put him up to it. But I guess that since you have been kidnapped by him you can know that He is the one that helped me to learn the magyks. And he is my family.

I wasn't supposed to find out, but we are related by blood, even if he has a different name. I don't even know if he knows yet, so don't tell him. I accidentally found this out while snooping, as usual. I think that is would be best if we kept this information to ourselves. It would be best for him not to know at this time.

So If I'm not to be to hard on Gale, then you aren't to be too hard on my brother. Even if he kidnapped you.

Gale and I are currently on our way to Corinth. I had to tell him about Nebeula, after I tried to leave him in the last city, its complicated, but I caused a large commotion, and left the city. Confident that I had left him there, I stopped to rest, when he came through the trees. I was a bit more then surprised, but that feeling quickly subsided when I saw his face. I had to cover my mouth to keep from laughing, but was laughing so hard internally that I almost burst into tears! He had been in the center of my disturbance, and had barely escaped. When he looked for me he realized what I had done, and came after me a quickly as he could. I suppose that he had hoped to come into my camp acting like nothing had happened, but I caught him at a bad time.

When he asked me why I tried to leave him there, I was prepared. I had a perfect excuse all lined up to tell him. But when I did he didn't believe me. He said that he had heard me talking in my sleep, and I had said a great many things about you and about lots different secrets things. Do I really talk in my sleep? Why did you never tell me? Well, he said that he wanted to come along and help. So I let him, on the condition that he wouldn't tell anyone the things I had spoken of in my dreams.

Now we are on our way to Corinth, and should arrive two or three days before Rudeth. I might possibly make this trip harder then it has to be, because of my constant arguing. I discovered that teasing Gale is the only way to make him seem less then perfect. He has quite a temper once you hit a sore spot.

Please know that I am very sorry that I couldn't be at your wedding, thought it never happened. I'm a so happy to know that you didn't marry the Xar, but I am sorry that you had to find out he is Nova the way that you did. I think that Ben did the right thing, but I know that it is probably really hard for you right now.

On the happy side, even though you didn't get married, you got to wear a beautiful dress with gorgeous hair for a short while. And next time you are about to get married I can be there.

I will see you in a small amount of time.

Be safe on your journeys to meet with us.

With Excitement,

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Eleventh Letter - By Opalf

Dear Astra,

Fourteen Days 'til the Night Of Rudeth

I may as well be blunt, I am engaged to be married to the Xar. It cannot be much of a shock to you. But I will tell you how it happened.
The Xar returned late last night, and I was taking an evening stroll in the Gardens. I was a bit startled at his sudden appearance by my side, but the surprise was not unwelcome. I asked after his trip and he after my life at the palace. We both answered in the negative, and he, with his blunt and confident manner, remarked that it would have been much more pleasant had I been with him. I was pleased and flattered at this compliment and returned it, adding that I hoped he did not have to go away again very soon. His face began to look grave and he said that yes, he was due to be at a very important meeting the very next day and would not be back for another three. I was silent for a while, unsure as to how deep my disappointment went in his leaving.
Before I had time to judge the depth of my feelings, we had begun on a different topic and went on for some time in a casual conversation. When we came round to the bench near the Lotus Pool, I was quite certain that I was feeling much happier with the Xar back and was doomed to be depressed the whole while he was to be gone. We sat down and I let my hand rest in his.
We sat in silence for some time and I confess, it was the first time I have felt the silence a bit uncomfortable. Just as I was about to begin on a new topic of conversation, the Xar brought up a new and slightly shocking subject. That of marriage. More specifically, marriage between himself and myself.
We discussed the idea for some time, until we came to the conclusion that it would benefit the both of us and that neither of us had the least objection. He then knelt before me, and with the most exquisite ring in his outstretched hand, formally asked for my hand in marriage. I accepted and before we had the time or opportunity to seal the proposal with a kiss, were interrupted by a flurried looking page, in search of the Xar.
With a parting look and mutual understanding, the Xar allowed himself to be led away and I have not seen him since. He left early this morning and our hopes are that he will be back before the closing of the week.
I have never been romantic, you know, but I have found the whole thing very satisfying and I do believe I am deeply in love and we shall get along very well.
My only regret is that you will not be here for the wedding. We discussed different dates, but have decided on one week from today. Do not be alarmed, I was adament in refusing to break my promise to you and, not knowing how long I was to be with you, the Xar insisted we make the date as soon as possible. We will be married and spend a week together, giving me just enough time to make my way to Corinth and then to you. Even with my new promises, I have not forgotten the ones I made to you.
Yes indeed, I believe I shall be very happy and I only want for you to meet my fiancee and approve my decision.

Friendship Forever and Always,

Don't do anything drastic to poor Gale. I daresay he can't help being so perfect. You must try to forgive him for his faults or rather,his lack of them.

Dear Astra,

Four Days 'til the Night of Rudeth

I write this to you in the greatest frustration a soul has ever known. It is done, I have lost it! That must mean something to you! You, who has known me to never crack under pressure, never flinch with a charade or break a sweat over a disaster or crisis. But this... man, has done what no one has done before. I have lost it! I have lost my cool, I have lost my hot, I have lost any last bit of rational thinking I have been known to possess.
But I daresay you are still in the dark. I shall narrate these past few days of... horror and tragedy.
After my last letter, I spent a few peaceful days, content in the prospect and preparations of my upcoming wedding. The Xar returned and I spent my days in the greatest happiness, always near to my fiancee.
After my first day of beautiful bliss, I crawled into my feather bed and quickly drifted off into a dreamless sleep. It must have been near Mid Night when I was awakened from sleep by the telltale sounds of someone creeping up the tower stairs.
I left the comfort of my bed and threw my robe on in the chill night air, then positioned myself near the door to the stairs and armed myself with an old rusted knife that I had found in the back of the closet.
I confess, I do not know what made me suppose that the person was coming up with less than honest intentions, but the night was black and the wind was moaning in the old Willow outside the window and the atmosphere made everything seem ominous.
With the knife clutched in my hand, I hid myself as much in shadow as possible as the door creaked open. To my complete surprise, I recognized the figure and outline of Benden Steel.
My knife clattered to the floor as Benden turned toward me, seeming not in the least surprised to see me awake and hiding with a knife, ready to stab the first person to come into the room.
After scrutinizing me for a moment in the blackness of the room, he strolled over to the bedside table and struck a match, creating moving shadows along the stone walls.
I stood in my corner a moment longer, in a bit of daze at my unexpected nightly visitor. When I regained my mental stability, I walked to my bed and sat down, curious to know why Benden would have any reason to visit me in such an unorthodox fashion and hour. He sat opposite me on an old rickety chair and we both openly studied each other. After a moment Ben leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes, apparently content to wait for me to take the lead.
I did so. "What in the world are you doing here Ben?" My question was frank and his answer was even more so.
"I'm here to convince you to call off your engagement with the Xar." His eyes were still closed and his whole manner conveyed comfort and affability.
I laughed and leaned back on my arms, copying his attitude, intent on beating him at whatever game he was playing.
"Oh Ben, I thought you were done pretending. You can't actually expect me to put up with it again. You don't know what a pain it
would be having to explain everything to my fiancee." He stayed silent. "Oh come on Ben. It's great to see you but couldn't you have postponed your visit 'til morning? This is hardly the best hour for a friendly chat." I laughed again and Ben's eyes flew open.
I was startled at their color, shining in the candlelight, but more so in their depth and... passion. All pretense of casualty was gone and his face was full of solemnity.
"Xan," He leaned forward and his eyes seemed to penetrate my feelings. "I'm serious. I have been sent to convince you to call off your engagement to the Xar and if that fails, I am to not hesitate to use more compelling means."
I tried to laugh again, but it was caught in my throat, held there by the truth in Ben's eyes.
My thoughts were flying rapidly and I tried to sort them out, searching for a way to shrug off this insane declaration. But in spite of my efforts, I could not think of any reason for Ben to be in my room at that hour and his explanation kept coming to my mind. My engagement had been anounced that afternoon and it seemed plausible that if someone were to try to stop me, they would do it as soon as possible and in a fashion much the same as what Ben was employing.
My thoughts were spinning and as Ben's eyes held mine I seemed to be able to feel his passion, his seriousness and I began to be a bit frightened. What did I really know of this man? Why did I let him stay this long in my bedroom? What interest could he possibly have in annulling my engagement?
I stood up quickly and went to the window to let my thoughts cool and to be away from the searching glance of Ben.
The wind was playing in my hair and my thoughts were settled enough to allow room for questions.
"Why?" My back was still turned to Ben but I could feel him come up behind me.
"The Xar is not what you think. He belongs to Nova. He knows you have the Gift and he has played you to perfection, certain that with you as his wife, you will no longer be a danger to him or his power. Under the laws of the magyks, once wed, he is lawfully enabled to stop your powers, if not use them." He took a breath for another load of rubbish but I lost it before he had the chance to go on.
"Oh My Stars!" I turned away from the window, brushing forcefully against him as I went back to the bed. "What is wrong with you people?! Do you not know when to stop?!" I sat down on the bed and Ben stayed by the window, his arms folded across his chest, watching my antics from a safe distance. I couldn't stand his scrutiny and I got up and stomped around the room as I raved.
"I know! Astra got you to do this, didn't she? You were hired! Astra never liked the idea of my attachment to the Xar and now she has concocted some ridiculous scheme to get me away from him!" I am sorry if I have done you an injustice in this accusation, but I was not thinking clearly. "How stupid do you think I am!?" I ran my hands through my hair, not knowing how to work off my frustration. "I am sick, and tired of this prank! Just leave me be!" I glared hard at Ben, looking for all the world as if we were having a friendly chat over dinner. His calm was getting on my nerves. "Well let me tell you this! Go tell Nebuela or Nova or the Stars Above, that not on my life will I call off my engagement to suit your fancy! I am getting married to the Xar and you can't. stop. me!"
My finger was nearly in his face and I fancy my eyes were nearly shooting flames. Ben didn't smile. He simply sat there, his eyes searching mine, looking for something and not really listening to me.
I grabbed his arm, and ushered him to the door. He gave no resistance and was soon on the top step. As I was closing the door, he put his hand against it and leaned back in the room. "Are you sure you won't change your mind?" Now I detected a hint of a smile. "NO!" I slammed the door in his face and I heard him chuckle as he hurried down the steps.
My heart was beating fast and my pulse was high. I was in such a state of confusion and elation and anger that it was near breakfast time before I finally drifted back into a troubled sleep.
When I finally roused myself, lunch was being served and I was being called to join the Xar in the Garden for a private picnic.
I readied myself and hurried off, almost forgetting the events of the night. I had a wonderful picnic and I found myself laughing inwardly at my behavior during the night.
As the Xar and I walked together after our picnic, he himself brought up the topic of the night. Apparently, the stable boy had seen my light on and had seen the outline of my visitor, and had thought it his duty to bring it to the attention of the Xar.
I do not know what enticed me to act the way I did, but when the Xar asked me who it was, I found myself telling my fiancee, one who I had hoped to never have secrets with, a lie! I told him it had been an old family friend, one of Grandfather Melvin's old friends and when he had heard I was engaged he simply had to see me and congratulate me but he was due to leave early the next morning and he was a very good friend with the family and so he did not find it improper at all to come visit me in the middle of the night.
Astra, you know I am not one to lie! I do occasionally bend the truth, but I have never been one to even attempt an outright lie, but here I was, telling a falsehood to none other than my fiancee! And it came so naturally! I do not know what enticed me to protect Ben with such a statement, but it seemed to come of it's own accord. My fiancee took it all as truth and did not ask any more questions concerning the matter.
At the end of the day, I sat in my room brooding. I could not help but think about what Ben had said as I had been with my fiancee that day. I cannot say that he was inattentive, for I was with him nearly all day and he was very concerned about my comfort and always anxious to please, but he did seem a bit preoccupied and I could not help but wonder if he was tiring of my company. But these were all silly doubts that Ben had placed there and I was determined to think no more on it and get a good night's rest.
As I lay in bed, I was startled at every creak of the tower and groan of the old willow, certain that Ben would make another visit. I lay awake for hours, unconsciously repeating to myself every word of your letters against the Xar and every word spoken by Ben the night before. My mind was tired and I kept feeling like there was something I was missing, as if you and Ben knew something I didn't and if I could figure out what, I would know what to do.
I eventually dozed off and didn't wake until late in the morning, and then it was with a splitting headache. I had the cook bring me breakfast in bed and I nursed my head with water until I heard the steps creaking, announcing the cook.
My head was in an awful state and the appearance of Ben instead of the cook didn't do much to help. I groaned and laid my head back on the pillow and he just chuckled and set my breakfast on the side table and himself on the edge of my bed.
"Xandra," he whispered and poked me, trying to get me to open my eyes.
"What?" I muttered and slapped his hand.
"You haven't possibly changed your mind, have you?" He was still whispering and I was glad he was because my head was pounding up a thunder storm.
"No, I have not changed my mind." I said through slitted teeth. "Just go away." I turned my head away and he eventually left.
I ate my breakfast and was only a bit surprised to find a note on the plate. Here's what it said:

Xandra, please just trust me! Just call off the wedding until after the night of Rudeth! I can't explain a whole lot now, but can't you just wait? I am aware that you think this whole thing is a bunch of bues, but you've just got to trust us. I know this sounds melodramatic, but there are a lot of people depending on you. Pretty please?

I could hear his voice in my head, his sweet pleading voice. You know, Ben can be so... emotional. The way he speaks conveys exactly what he's feeling and his passion. Unlike the Xar, who speaks very rationally, and he is a very calculating man. I like that, it gives you the feeling of safety, like he has everything under control. But, alas I will not see him again.
Well, roughly, this routine went on until the day of the wedding. No more night visits, but every morning Ben would stop in with my food, somehow always convincing the cook that I had insisted he bring it up to me.
Our conversations were nearly always the same, him trying to convince me to believe him and delay or cancel the wedding and me adamently refusing.
I was almost disappointed when he failed to make an appearance on the morning of the wedding, but soon decided I was much relieved, thinking he had given it up and there would be no problems on the day of my wedding. Oh my stars, was I mistaken!
Near noon, I was completely ready. My hair was flowing down my back in the most beautiful waves and curls and it sparkled with the Syne, shining only white. Oh I wish you could have seen my dress! It was the most beautiful thing! It was specially made to bring out my eyes and it was lovely! The material was made of the silk of the bunee's and it flowed elegantly around my body coming up over my shoulders and flowing into a sort of cloak. Oh, I felt like the most beautiful bride!
I was making my way to the old Chapel on Sapphire Street with my ladies-in-waiting and we were passing under the Great Arched Bridge. I had always dreamed of spending a moment by myself under the great arches before my wedding and I had the perfect chance. I ordered the ladies to go ahead and I began to walk around the glorious arches, admiring the exquisite carvings.
As I came around one of the arches, I jumped at the sight of Ben leaning casually against the side. He was in the dirtiest Mountain Ranger clothing and his hands were covered in dried mud.
I stepped back, in surprise and for fear of getting my dress dirty. He glanced briefly at me and then made some remark that I'm sure was meant to be a compliment.
I had a faint feeling of warning, but in my pride, I disregarded it, certain that with the wedding less than an hour away, there was nothing he could do to stop me.
Ben stood up straight and turned his peircing eyes to study me. I did not flinch, but it was not the most comfortable thing.
"I suppose you mean to go through with the wedding?"
"I do." I no longer took his questions as a joke. He was serious and so was I.
"Well then old friend, I guess this means goodbye." He held out his hand to me but I hesitated to take it, as it was dirtier than Old Mauds dish rags. But, for fear of being rude, I gave him my hand. He held it in his, keeping his eyes locked on me. When I thought on it later, I realized that, as his eyes locked with mine, they were sort of saying sorry. I know that sounds strange, but the feeling was so real. I knew he was trying to apoplogize for something. And at that moment, I gave into my intuition and decided that something was wrong.
But it was too late. I tried to pull my hand out of his, but sooner than you can say tse, he pulled me to him, and after wrapping a scarf around my mouth he tried to tie my hands together.
I confess, I was not very good at defending myself, me being so much smaller and never much a fan of athletics. But I did what I could. He held one of my hands in his and he was trying to grab my other one, with the intent of tying them together. We played a game of keep the hand away, but, after swatting me on the behind, he won and I was neatly tied and thrown over his shoulder.
He carried me for some time, which was highly uncomfortable for me, and we eventually came to a path leading into the trails of the Mount Zide. I was gently thrown up onto the lone horse and Ben swung up behind me.
We rode for what seemed hours and finally came to an old camp ground, which had been neatly prepared for us. Ben lifted me down from the horse and I sank gratefully onto the soft ground. By this time, my beautiful wedding dress was muddy and ripped and I nearly cried because of it. But I kept good face and sat on the ground, refusing to look at my captor.
Ben untied me and then built up a fire and set to making dinner. I am certain you can guess the trials of that first day, my obstinancy and his stubborness. We fought a great deal and talked very little. I tried to escape three or four times, but was always dragged back to camp before I had made it more than fifty yards.

That was three days ago.

So now, here I sit, by a coldfire, made by a man I almost hate and writing to you dear friend.


Ben is taking me to Corinth, so I suppose I will let him. He brought me the Opalf and I will keep it with me.

I will try to write you one more before the Night of Corinth. I have nothing better to do.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

10th Letter

You truly are the greatest friend that anyone could ever have! Thank you for your understandings, and forgiveness.

Well, yes, kind of, we were. Not anymore. Now we are in the Desert of Rubies. We have now officially moved past Rust Ridge. We dropped off Silvia in Skye Falls. And followed your advice to have her stay with the Buckners. I think that she will enjoy being there, their library is full of old books she hasn't read.

Gale. Is. Awful. Okay, I'm not even sending a flick. He is the most terrible, perfect person I've ever met. If only you knew. It would take years of spying to find something wrong with him. I mean, he is almost like a knight or prince out of one of Silvia's books. There is absolutely no flaws to find with him. He's nice, kind, friendly, funny, handsome, a people-person, a scholar, a warrior, nothing is wrong with him. And I can't stand it! I'm almost to the point of leaving him here in the Desert of Rubies, except of course, it is a desert. And there is no where to leave him.

Have you heard from your mother if the wind has started to blow in Quest yet? I can hardly believe that it is time for it to start. It is slightly depressing that I haven't felt the winds of Quest since I joined Nebeula. It's been a long time. That was the only thing I had been looking forward to when you left me there.

And now, here I am in a melancholic state, in the middle of a desert, writing you a letter, sitting by a coldfire, built by a man I hate.

Now, since I'm done brooding, we can speak of things to come.

I've decided to give you no more warnings about the Xar. But, just so that you know, I still distrust him, even if it is from a distance. And I NEVER judged him, just distrusted him.
So you can love him if you want to, and if you get hurt from it, know that I will be here, in the desert, writing letters, sitting by a coldfire, made by a man I hate.

Oh my stars! The stars have come out. They are pretty out here. Maybe the real reason this place is called the Desert of Rubies is because the stars glow red. Its a little strange, but pretty. Like your hair in the synelight.

On the night of Rudeth, that is swiftly approaching, bring the Oplaf with you. It will help us with what is going to happen.

I trust that you are still going to meet me at the heart, even with the Xar's insistence.

May the ruby stars of this place connect us.


P.S. What do you think I should do about the man I hate, that built the coldfire I'm now sitting by, while writing this letter about ruby stars?