Across the Barrier, fantasy, On-going Stories, World Weavers

Across the Barrier Chapter Three

‘I don’t like you.’ Luna’s Father’s voice was deep and gravelly.

He was also tiny. Considering moments ago, he had an eye the size of a whole roundabout.

‘Nice to meet you too, sir?’

Metior frowns at me and turns away to the old lady mermaid elf and the large dark skinned man.

For his tiny frame, he had a lot of white hair puffing around his head like fried wire. Thin frame under a baggy dress like garment covered with dozens of pockets in different sizes.

We were inside what looked like a church, but instead of pews, there was large scientific looking equipment.

He walks towards the front of the building beckoning the misfit group we were to follow him.

At the front where an altar could have been was a round door on the floor. The door opens upwards but there is no ladder or secret passageway but a misty portal sparkling.

He jumps in without a word and the others follow. I stand there pondering what I have gotten myself. If being dead was really that bad for this hallucination was getting out of hand.

A knobbly hand pops out of the portal, making it transparent, and I could see the other side of it. There was an ordinary home with a table, chairs, carpets, a fridge and a regular looking kitchen stove, not a fire pit or run by water or glowing electricity.

The hand grabs my leg and pulls before I could hop into the portal.

In seconds I’m in a familiar world. I was in the dining room beside an open kitchen. The side of a staircase rose in front of the dining area, its side wall covered in paintings and photographs.

The large man was tinkering in the kitchen with the old lady helping out.

I found myself sitting on the floor under the dining table on top of a worn carpet looking at the wobbly knees of Luna’s father sitting on a dining chair.

‘If you would like to remain there and be fed scraps, I would be glad to do so.’

I crawl out from under the table, he points at the seat beside him.

‘Your name, boy?’ He picks up a tablet and begins scrolling through it.

‘I’m Ben Hart, Sir.’

‘Yes, I see that, a college graduate with a degree in business. No pursuit in life, I see.’

He was not exactly wrong; I had never really gotten to choose my life’s purpose. Simply followed my parent’s orders.

‘Dabbled in being a pilot. The irony. How long have you known Luna?’ his voice drops into a whisper at the point he mentions her name.

‘For nearly five years, we had been friends at work.’

‘Luna would never have worked in a corporate company, it would have bored her.’ He admonishes.

Which was right, she found it utterly dull and had begun a little trade on the side of her own creating jewellery from scraps. Hoping to quit from a large company that she thought only cared about profits.

‘She was, eventually creating an online Jewellery shop.’ I say, he nods his head but as he opens his mouth a girl’s voice interrupts him.

‘Well hello Metior, Darya, Kai and stranger; Good morning!’

The girl was Luna’s age, but she had a wild look to her while Luna looked docile and sweet.

I stand to introduce myself, ‘Hi, I’m Ben Hart.’ I stick my hand out, and she laughs. She pats my hand and walks past me to the kitchen.

Hello Ben, I’m Kera. You don’t look like from another world. What could Metior want with you?’

She plugs in the water kettle and begins heating up water. Takes out a cup from a cabinet and wiggles a mug my way. I nod my head.

‘Thank you, I never thought I would get to drink coffee again.’

Kera shuts the cabinet and gives me a shocked face, ‘Coffee? What’s coffee?’

I look at Metior, and he shakes his head, ignoring the situation and continues to read from his tablet more about my life or me with Luna, I’m unsure.

Kera laughs, ‘Just kidding, I’ve been to three or four worlds now. I am always glad to come home for some coffee. They don’t seem to have it anywhere there. Which is crazy, I know.’

‘Worlds?’

She squints at me then at Metior.

‘He is from across the Barrier, nowhere else.’ he mumbles.

Her eyes go round, ‘I see why he needs the coffee. If I died, I would need ten cups.’

She quickly mixes the instant coffee for both of us and sits beside me, passing me a cup.

‘Well, what was being dead like?’ She gets comfortable with her elbow on the table with her chin cupped in her hand.

‘Nothing. Just emptiness.’ She nods her head, ‘Sounds deep.’

‘Sort of, cause I could see deep see fishes on the other side of this glass barrier. That’s where I saw Darya as a mermaid elf.’

She laughs out loud, ‘Darya! How come he got to see you in your original form? So jealous, right now!’

Darya slams a wooden spoon on the pan, ‘you will see it one day little Kera, do not worry.’ Darya seemed to be making scrambled eggs while Kai was tossing some sausages in the air. For a mermaid elf and a giant, they were quite comfortable in the kitchen.

Kera shrugs admittedly, ‘I’m sure we will, I just can’t wait to go to Metior though.’ She sips her cup, missing the glance Darya sends to Kai and Metior whose eyes stopped for a second scanning the tablet.

Kera gets up and heads to the kitchen to grab something lost in thought.

Kera looks ordinary, long curly dark brown hair with almond sharp light brown eyes on an oval, round face with a button-like nose and small plump lips. She returns from the kitchen with a slice of brownie.

‘Would you like some? Got to live in the moment, you never know when they’ll suck you through a portal and into a world with nothing but cold raw rabbit meat from a hunt.’

That was a little specific.

Kera chuckles, enjoying my awkward discomfort.

‘Just kidding, but it could happen. It happened to Misty.’

A groan comes from the staircase. Large male feet appear slowly going down the steps. He was lanky, dressed in a crumpled white t-shirt and black pants.

‘Hello, Misty, how was your sleep?’ Kera asks sweetly.

The boy enters the dining room space with messy black hair streaked with silver. He had bright ocean green eyes that now stared daggers at Kera.

‘When will you stop calling me that?’ He growls.

He looked exhausted, he had stubble that could be days old and dark shadows under his eyes. His clothes looked slept in and dirty like he hasn’t changed in days.

‘Ben Hart, Mr Grouchy over there is Lucian also known to me as Misty. He’s a partner in crime of a sort.’

‘More experienced than you, but you act like a know it all.’ Lucian passes by without a glance my way to the kitchen and makes himself a cup of coffee.

‘I like being better.’ Kera says smugly sipping her own.

‘Still can’t transform though.’ Lucian smirks.

Kera rolls her eyes, ‘I’ve been to more places than you.’

‘Enough.’ Interrupts Metior, just as Darya and Kia place breakfast on the table.

Lucian slips into the seat opposite me next to Metior while Darya and Kia take up the remaining two places.

I realise that in this world Darya and Kai seem unable to read my mind. I smile for the first time feeling comforted.

We can all hear your thoughts. That was Kera in my head.

We’re just being polite and try to ignore it.

Try imagining a barrier of a sort covering your thoughts.

Like a bubble around you.

In my head, she sounds kinder and gentler, less loud, a little like Luna.

I create an impenetrable wall surrounding my mind, like the barrier I had fallen through.

Can you hear me now? 

There’s no answer.

‘Let us eat,’ began Metior.

Kera smiles at me, making Lucian frown a little.

‘We shall reunite Luna with Ben today. Once together, I shall finally bring you to Metior City. It is time you learn your prophecy’s.’

Kera glances at Lucian, I could sense something between them. An understanding.

Luna, we’re coming.

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fantasy, On-going Stories, Short Story, The Faceless Queen, World Weavers

The Faceless Queen VIII

I was raised to be oblivious of the world around me. It was easier to bend me to the will of my father and his court. I had spent my youth playing dress up with beautiful gowns and hiding in my room in self-pity.

Now I sit in the Evergreen Library and I feel foolish.

Eydollon has a massive library bigger than the whole of the Evergreen compound but I had never thought to explore it further than Eydollon’s history and laws. I was conforming myself to past beliefs.

Here the books about the other parts of Eludemare are beyond that I could believe. Kera beside me is as astounded.

“Holy Moly there’s such thing as shapeshifters here. There’s this Cateline that’s rumoured to have turned a fox into a shapeshifter. How cool is that?!”

I roll my eyes. Ever since she had begun reading the books along with me she had lowered her guard down and exposed she was not from Eydollon for I had been to every part of my kingdom and her accent and way of speaking was not from any part. However, the way she read about the rest of Eludemare she seemed unaware of its existence as much as I.

Oddest of all, she had the ability to read the texts of all the different languages although never being to the places.

“Kera, where are you from?” she freezes and looks up to me uncertain what to say.

She sighs, “Here.”

“I’ve read about dragons, shapeshifters, Jinn’s, floating cities, reincarnated Gods what can’t you possibly say that could shock me further than that. I already know you are not from Eydollon.” I slam the book I’m reading shut on the table in frustration.

“I don’t know if I can tell you. One thing I will say though is, I’m here to help you somehow.”

“I’ve seen in your mind you are from another world.”

“Since we’re being honest and prying into each other’s faces, I hope I wasn’t sent here to be sacrificed to be your next face. It’s not that pretty anyway.” Kera rises to walk away but I pull her towards me.

She tries to fight, eyes growing round and frightened. I was growing tired of her rebelliousness and fear.

I grab her shoulders tightly and look deep into her eyes like the other girls she’s seen me take their faces. I could feel her shaking but she defies herself from uttering a sound.

“I made you my servant because I could not take something you are unwilling to give. Have I not proven I would not hurt you. Why must you make it so hard to become a friend?”

“You want to be friends? Would you be friends with the King of Ubel after finding out he turned his court into the Skotos?” I let her go like I was burnt. She saw me equal to that of King Ubel.

She immediately begins to apologize but I throw her out of the library with a brush of my hand slamming the library doors shut at her face.

I could feel my inner fire burning out of my skin and the face of the latest girl burning off at the edges.

I was a monster but not like the King of Uvelin that I knew.

My old true senses returning slowly, my ordinary human senses burning away.

How could I have been so blind to think someone could be my friend.

A hand grabs my arm and I try to shake it off but it holds firm tightly.

If i did not stop the fire I would be faceless to the rulers tomorrow. I could not find a willing sacrifice in time.

“Don’t fight it.” It was the voice of the man her stepmother had brought to introduce me.

“Let go of me. You don’t understand!”

“I do, I was abandoned in the streets of Uvelin to become an odd faceless boy child serving a provincial lord. He used my powers to feed him an endless supply of dumplings.”

“Dumplings?” The fire inside me snuffs out, wisps of it flicker out the tips of my fingers and hair.

The man chuckles letting my arm go. “Long story short, I had been caught on the street creating a dumpling out of thin air. I was hungry.”

I couldn’t help imagine a scrawny little boy with dumplings before him only to be disturbed by men to take him to the provincial lord.

“I wasn’t that scrawny, I was only caught because I had gotten greedy and hadn’t been careful. I usually eat in the safety of an abandoned church cellar.” As he says this I could see it in my mind from his perspective. He was sharing his memories with me.

“We can do that? Share memories?” I ask creating a barrier in my mind.

“Yes, only in our true form. No need to build a wall against me, I would not pry if not invited.”

“But I could see into Kera’s dreams without her permission.”

“She is not like us. We mustn’t share our gifts with others. They may take advantage of it.”

“Kera is different.”

“I know.”

The man sits down in Kera’s seat and beckons me to sit down.

I look around and the world around me feels different, I could not help feeling relieved to have my senses undiluted but I could not stop seeing my father’s judging and disapproving eyes.

I look back at the man and I notice he looks different. He was naked but for bright orange flames flickering around the edges with darker swirls across his body covering the important sections.

I could feel a flush rise up to my face if I had one.

“What you see is my true form as I see you since we have met. although right now you seem to be a little pinkish like you were blushing.”

“What are we?” ignoring his comment.

“You know the answer to that, your stepmother has shared our people to you. Well, half of our true people. We were born in human form, encased. While they are in their true form entirely.”

“You’ve met them?” I sit in disbelief.

“I have travelled around Eludemare, looking for others like us. There are many, taking many different forms of work to use their unique abilities. You are the only other person with a similar ability to create from our energies.  Most of our kind have simple abilities and are kind and humble while there are those who are angry and hunger for more power. We are no different from human folk in terms of greed.”

“I meant the true versions of the Shinkami, you have met them?”

He nods, “I met one in my travels, he was quite arrogant but he says no human or half Shinkami can enter their domain. I have yet to try.”

The library grows quiet. I look at the clock and see that time had moved on quickly. It was time to go back to my quarters.

“I think I better get back to check on Kera.”

The man stands and holds his arm out. “I’ll walk you.”

“I’m Joaquin by the way.” He says as I hook my arm with his.

The library doors open.

“People call me the Faceless one back home.” Joaquin chuckles, “Your real name?”

“I’m Alessa.”

Kera stands at the door looking forlorn as she looks up her face turns to amazement.

I look through her eyes and I too am speechless.

We look formidable.

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fantasy, On-going Stories, The Moon that Never Sets

The Moon that Never Sets

Natalie could feel the sand crusting under her nails, but she knew it was a little bit farther down. The sand around her was slowly sliding down; nothing to worry about it was normal.

Today the sand was golden, she felt like she was digging in a treasure trove. Natalie laughs with glee. At that point, the sand under her knees begins to change into glass. Natalie has reached the bottom of the hole.

The glass is so smooth Natalie stumbles as she tries to sit up sending her tumbling back down making Natalie scream with joy.

“Hello there princess! It is quite lovely to see you again.” Beams a little glass boy.

“Kai! I’m oh so happy to see you! How have you been?”  Natalie hugs Kai carefully.

“I’ve been on an adventure, I’ve seen monstrous beasts eating majestic ships, mermaids singing men to sleep and little sea elf’s making glass necklaces. I got one for you.”

Kai holds out a colourful mass of sea glass strung into a necklace. Natalie gently took it from him, and her eyes glisten and sparkle with the glass.

“Oh, Kai, they are beautiful, all my friends in school would be oh so jealous of me! Thank you thank you!”

Kai beams at her praise. “How have you been little Princess?”

Natalie groans, “I’ve told you plenty, please don’t call me little, you make me sound like a baby! I’m sure I’m older than you.”

Kai laughs, “But you are so small!”

“Am not! Anyway, my father is off on another adventure and mother has followed. I would be free to roam our home again, and I was thinking of inviting you if you would like to come?”

Kai shakes his head, “I cannot leave the hole and the beach, and you know this for we have tried plenty. Those times were as painful as it will be if we try.”

Natalie sighs, “Yes I suppose, but it would have been impolite if I had not asked.”

Kai smiled, “Thank you for your invitation Princess, I am greatly honoured but I must politely decline. It is time anyway for a story! Would you like to hear it?”

Natalie nodded eagerly, “Is it about the monstrous beast swallowing ships whole?”

Kai shakes his head as he lies down on the golden sand, shimmering against the minuscule crystals in the sand making him look glittery.

“It is of a hero who saved people from a gigantic snake monster. It had fangs thick as a tree trunk and as sharp as a knight’s sword. It was the size of a mountain!”

Natalie slips beside Kai, lying down against him, he was warm from the heat of the sand. Kai was from another place, he guarded something special. He has told Natalie that he comes all the way from the moon’s heart. Although the moon was so far, she was amazed at how it made him feel warm. She loved his warmth; she found it comforting. It made her feel protected.

Natalie dozes off, and Kai watches her for a while then pats her head and dissolves into the glass beneath them. The glass floor shimmers away.

Natalie wakes up to an empty hole, she must have dozed of and Kai could only stay above for so long. She could hear the lapping waves in the distance and the yapping of dogs. Amongst it was the shouting of her name being called. It was time to go back to the big white empty house.

Natalie climbed out of the hole, sand was in every little crease of her dress and skin.

Squinting towards the voice calling her name, she sees Katrina, her face was red with heat, and her brow was scrunched with anger. Catching sight of Natalie Katrina waves her over urgently.

Natalie quickly walks over with her tiny legs, Katrina crosses her arm across her chest and watches Natalie, her brows scrunching even deeper creating more lines on her forehead.

Her lips thin as if she is trying to hold back something she wants to say but it doesn’t take long.

“Natalie Golding, how dare you?” Katrina demanded. Natalie scratches her arm and looks down at the sand.

“I’m sorry Katrina, I fell asleep and Kai didn’t wake me up,” Natalie explains rubbing sand off her dress guiltily.

Katrina harrumphed, “Come, you must get cleaned up quickly, Lord Bard has come to take you for a few weeks. Your father has asked him a favor. Your things have been packed, as always.”

A dark cloud forms around Natalie’s shoulders. A part of her wanted to scream and kick. See what happens if she let Katrina drag her home to Lord Bard.

Natalie was a daughter of a lord who was well renowned and respected by the aristocrats and the peasants equally. He was an explorer, and he has travelled all around the world.

Natalie’s home was filled with artifacts and stories and she loved them all, but what she longed for most was never at home. Her parents were constantly away. That is why she was not surprised Lord Bard was there to take her away again.

Natalie enters her home, walks past the doors to her parent’s private workrooms. It was where all the fragile artifacts and their shelves of journals were stored.

Natalie smiled at the memory when she had slipped in there once before. The artifacts seemed to come alive. The statue of a naked woman holding a baby had smiled at her. There was a giant metal rhino that had snorted at her and she had gotten scared. It was ten times her size but it had simply nuzzled her gently.

Her favorite would have been the crystal queen, she was beautiful and elegant; she had bowed at Natalie and she was the queen!

There were other sturdier artifacts around the house; there was the massive painting of mountains in the dining hall where there was a dragon breathing fire at the town’s people.

As well as the little trolls on different mantles across the home. Natalie had a feeling they moved around by themselves for they always seemed to be different trolls every time she looked.

There were old scrolls as well in the stairwell, scrolls with old writings but some had pictures of gods. There were beautiful lady gods in gowns that draped across their body, not fully covered. There were of men who seemed angry all the time.

Natalie cleans up quickly and is brought to a room where Lord Bard drank and spoke to a mysterious man.

“My Lord Bard, it is lovely to see you again.” Natalie greets with a curtsy.

Lord Bard was a tall, handsome man, he had a chiseled chin with a mustache Natalie liked to imagine to be the one talking and not Lord Bard himself for it moved an awful lot to be just hair on a face.

“My my, you’ve grown up so fast little lady! Had I not only seen you a few weeks back?” he asks taking into a big tight hug.

Natalie beams, “Yes Lord Bard, you let me ride one of your ships and it was marvelous! Are we going to do that again?”

Lord Bard laughs putting her down, “We will have to see, and I’ll try to find a way. For you Natalie, anything.”

He takes her hand and brings Natalie towards the mysterious man. “Come I would like you to meet Lord Marvik; he is also a Captain of his own ship. Just like your father. He has a young daughter just like you, and she is eager to meet you.”

Natalie curtsied, “Hello Lord Marvik, its nice to meet you.” Lord Marvik had a scar on his face, from his right cheek to his chin he would have looked scary, but he seems kind enough, smiling down at her and patting her head gently.

“Did you get that scar saving somebody Lord Marvik, is it a heroic tale?”

Lord Marvik chuckles, “You are a curious little one aren’t you, you and my daughter will get a long well. Perhaps Diana will tell you the story herself. She was the one I had to save.”

Natalie’s eyes grew round; “She was with you on your adventure?” Lord Marvik nods, “Yes, she and her mother.

Natalie feels a twinge, “That sounds lovely.” Envy swirling in her chest.

“I best get ready, are we going soon?”

Lord Bard has a sad look in his face; he nods and lets her go.

Lord Marvik looks at Lord Bard, “I assume, Francis and Genevieve do not take Natalie on their trips?”

Lord Bard sighs, “No, they are afraid she will get hurt. She is a unique child, very different from your daughter who tends to be sharper in situations. Natalie lives in a different world I would say.”

Lord Marvik frowns, “I have a feeling she is more than that.”

Natalie goes to her room and finds all her things packed and ready to go. She sits sadly on her trunk elbows on her legs, her hands cupping her face.

If her parents would only take her on trips too. Fight monsters and discover new ones. She had begged, screamed and cried but they were adamant. Always so adamant it was not safe.

Katrina comes into the room and ushers her out.

“Time to go.”

They travel for days, the ocean growing farther away.

She wonders how Lord Marvik’s daughter was like. From what she could tell about Lord Marvik, it was that he was an accomplished explorer just like her parents. Also that he loves his daughter very much for he takes her with him on adventures.

“Natalie, you are awfully quiet. Is there something the matter?” Lord Bard pats Natalie’s hands.

Lord Marvik watched Natalie and senses a more mature mind behind her sweet-like exterior. It would not be surprising due to her having to spend so much time with adults regularly.

“I am fine Lord Bard, thank you for asking. I was simply thinking about mother and father and their adventures. Hoping they are alright.”

“Ah I see, what a dear child. I am sure they are fine. They always watch each other’s backs. They are on their adventure, and you will soon be too.”

Lord Marvik, nods to Lord Bard’s words, “My daughter has a great love of the sea and goes looking for sea glass every morning. Perhaps you can join her.” He added.

Natalie smiles, she did love the sea. She loved being in the water. She loved to think she was secretly a mermaid who lost all her memory or was a little fish exploring the big ocean.

Looking out the carriage window, Natalie gazes out the window and she points at the moon in the distance delighted to see it through the trees, “The moon is much brighter the closer we get, and everything around it seems less dark!” she cheers.

“You shouldn’t be pointing at the moon. There is a story that if you did you would receive a cut behind your ear. That means you were visited by the moon.”

Natalie tilted her head, curious, “Why would the moon do that for?”

“Some say that the moon is the guardian of the ocean, when it phases it controls the waters levels. To point at the moon would draw the moons attention and its momentum would be altered causing a shift in the water. The moon doesn’t like to be distracted from its purpose. I think the cut behind the ear would be a warning.” Lord Marvik answers.

“That’s just a story isn’t it?”

“Perhaps.”

The next morning Natalie wakes up to a strange feeling she’s being watched. The sky was grey blue and clouds hid the rising sun. Looking around her carriage, she found both lords sleeping uncomfortably in their seats and no one else.

She then feels a stinging behind her left ear. Touching the back of her ear, it is wet. She draws her hand away and sees blood on her fingertips. Her eyes grow round, and she stands to look out the window. The moon was still visible, and it was glowing so bright.

“Natalie, is there something wrong?” Lord Bard stirs from his sleep.

Natalie takes one last look at the moon and sits back down on her seat. “No Lord Bard, I was just taking a peak outside.”

Lord bard himself takes a peek outside, “Ah yes its morning, and from the looks of the lands we shall be reaching Lord Marvik’s home.”

Natalie barely heard the lord lost deep in her thoughts. The moon had sent her a warning, but she wonders why now? She had pointed at the moon before plenty of times.

She begins to worry that she had caused the moon to be distracted and hurt some people out there. Her heart speeds up; her parents were aboard a ship, could she have caused her parents to die?

“Little Natalie why do you look so frightened, my home is safe.” Lord Mavrik shifts uncomfortably in his seat rubbing his back.

“I have a cut behind my ear and my parents are out at sea.” She looks at Lord Mavrik clenching her hands tightly on her lap.

Lord Mavrik was not sure how to react, if she had received a cut behind her ear, it would mean Natalie was more than just a little girl.

“They should be fine, they are well seasoned travellers.” He answers; he had more important things to worry about. If she is what he believes she is, he had to find out more about her past. It all made sense why her parents did not bring her on their voyages. They must know.

Natalie nods, believing Lord Marvik’s words. It was more comforting than the feeling she had in her stomach.

As Lord Bard said, they reach Lord Marvik’s home soon enough. He had a large mansion bigger than Lord Bard’s and the lands around it were full of trees.

Natalie could smell the ocean, which calmed her; perhaps she could visit it and have a talk with Kai. Maybe he had news about her parents.

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