“I knew all along! Your plan has failed. I have the power to destroy you, and if not, you will be caught, because I have summoned as many army posts and dragons as possible,” fibbed Avelina wildly, stalling for time.
Aren gave a sneer, after wiping the blood off his swollen lip. “Don’t lie to me. I know for a fact that you decided to follow me alone, planning to catch me. Only you didn’t realize my own power, fool.”
There was a loud bang, and Avelina felt herself stumbling backward, gripping her cloak from pure terror. “Stop!” she screamed as she regained her balance. “Don’t you understand, Aren? The world can’t revolve around your wrongdoings! You could be so much more, if only you used your power for right over wrong! Don’t you understand?”
“Don’t waste your ethics rubbish on me,” he sighed, though there was no trace of regret– merely irritable.
“If you just–”
“No!” he said angrily, another crack blowing Avelina off her feet this time. She gave an exclamation of surprise, landing roughly on her knees.
“Coward!” she hissed. “Face me without your magic– the magic you stole.”
Aren gave a humorless laugh. “Yeah, and then what next? You blast me into a million pieces unawares?”
“No,” said Avelina uncertainly. “I wouldn’t…you know me.” She sensed his emotions calming, and his tense face relaxing. A mindless fury shook her as she clenched her fists, a steadily growing flame racing towards Aren in a vertical direction, like a bat out of Hell.
The flame extinguished immediately, the greedy blaze’s sparks just barely missing Aren as they shot off in every direction.
“Should’ve expected that,” Aren said coolly as he stepped forward, eyes unreadable. Avelina’s heart paced even faster, as his lips moved, his words so soft it was barely audible. “Goodbye, Avelina. A new Golden Age created by I, Lord Aren, will rise. Unfortunately for you, I can’t allow you to be a part of it.” An arrow sprouted from his hand.
Pain shot through her left hip, as if something had bit through her skin, sharper then a knife, and more distinct then a snake’s prick. A fiery hand tore through, and she fell backwards once more, shaken by the hot touch.
Avelina’s vision became black in several spots, only blurry blotches of light allowing vision to pass through. She felt a vague sensation of wanting to go to sleep, but she had no will to fight it.
The only sane part of her whispered in the back of her head.
She was dying.
Would this be her demise? Stabbed through by a single pierce and killed by her best friend– this was not her death wish.
The breeze shifted and was replaced by an unfamiliar aura. Avelina could feel a warmth spreading through her, unlike the flaming arrow, though she could not detect the source.
A bittersweet scent wafted through her nostrils and Avelina gave a jolt, feeling alert and perfectly healthy. Her eyes scanned the clearing, though she could not see where Aren had gone.
“Hello, dear,” greeted a melodious voice. It was smooth and full of warmth, like colored oil seeping across sun-warmed water.
Avelina blinked slowly, eyes widening as she set her gaze upon the girl kneeling beside her, a misty air of barely-transparency cloaking her body; she had an intense, bright, gaze, with her hair flowing softly, though there was no wind, and smelled vaguely like lavender. It was as if she was an image of everything pleasant and propitious.
“You!” said Avelina furiously.
“Me,” the girl agreed softly.
“Your songs lied to me. You said I would save him!”
“My dear, haven’t you learned you mustn’t trust all my prophecies?”
Avelina glared defiantly, getting to her feet and breathing deeply. “I wouldn’t show your face around, if I were you.”
“I suppose this is your thanks in return for healing you?” the girl replied amusedly.
“Nay,” she replied, more seriously this time. “Astewell is ruined. You must return to your home, but only to collect your belongings. By then, you must be gone.”
“Don’t tell me what to do, Kalyypso,” snapped Avelina, furiously wiping a tear away.
“It is absolutely necessary! This is not the end of Aren. If you are to be destroyed, your path will go untouched, and my guidance will be for nothing.”
“I never needed your guidance,” came the mumbled reply.
Kalyypso ignored this, and glanced up at the sky, as dusk began fading, pink and red replaced by a creeping blue.
“Go. You must,” she repeated. Kalyypso tore Avelina’s cloak away with a sudden movement, much to the surprise of the stubborn girl. She shivered under the cold winter air, dressed in only a thin, billowy skirt and blouse. Kalyypso reached into her own robe before pulling out an odd candled lantern– the light shimmering an emerald green and beaming an eerie glow.
“What’s that?” asked Avelina, a note of dread lumping up her throat; she knew exactly what it was. The Lantern of Oversight…
“Nothing,” Kalyypso said as she scrutinized the eternally burning light, its bright green flash shadowing across her face. “Just something that often shows me the way.”
She let the cloak tumble to the ground, landing in an awkward heap of gray cloth. Without any sign of warning, the lamp was released, shattering quietly against the fabric, the glass pieces disappearing as they bounced up. The candle had dissolved into nothing but liquid, and the long standing flame drowned out to a single translucent drop– all melting into the coat.
Avelina let out a strangled cry. “You– you accidentally dropped the Lantern of Oversight!”
Kalyypso shot her a sharp look. “That was no accident.” Gingerly reaching forward for the cloak, she let it slide into Avelina’s hands, who nearly dropped it once again.
“You see? I have even sacrificed my Lantern for you. Repay me by leaving this cursed place, to disappear. Believe me, your future holds great, great things…if only you take my words into account and ready for them.”
“I’m not ready,” said Avelina, letting a trace of fear creep into her face.
“Then prepare yourself!” Kalyypso retorted harshly. “Your identity must be stripped away, replaced by thick layers of disguise. Only when the time is right–
“Yeah, which is when?”
“–only when the time is right, must your existence be made out.” she paused, seeming to muse over several things. “I’ve always liked the name Sylvia.”
“Very well. I understand.” Not. “But…do you promise to guide me along, wherever I may end up?”
But there was no answer, and Avelina knew that Kalyypso had disappeared.
Stupid Kalyypso. Stupid Aren. What kind of name was Kalyypso, anyway? How silly it was to have two of the same letter in a name that needed only one.
“But I don’t like the name Sylvia,” she grumbled, clasping her cloak back together.
Somewhere in the distance, a raven cawed.