a girl is transported to another realm because of a necklace she finds. one-shot.
Oh, yeah. I guess you might want to know a little bit about me. Well, my name is Selene (I didn't choose it and my parents didn't know I had magical powers- I'd appreciate if you kept smart comments to yourself) and I'm, an interesting personality, to say the least. I won't go into detail, you probably won't understand half of what I'm saying- nobody seems to, I don't know why. In physical appearance, I'm about 5 1/2 feet, my hair is a deep cherry red (natural, not dyed) and my eyes are a deep brown. I'm not particularly pretty, but everybody says that my unusual coloring is "rather striking". Meaning I stick out because of my odd coloring only, my features are average. A small mouth, with a thicker lower lip than upper. An average nose, and thick eyebrows the same color as my hair. My figure is average as well, not skinny as a stick and not particularly plump either. OK, enough of that.
Now the reason I was in that bookstore, meaning a wiccan bookstore, was that I had pretty much exhausted my sources in Border's (a once in a lifetime experience) and I absolutely loathe Barne's and Nobles (don't ask). So I looked in the phone book, and voila, bookstore! I didn't particularly care that it was a "wiccan" bookstore, it probably had better astrology books than Border's anyway. It was a cute place with an attached cafe (thus the spilt coffee) and candles and stuff. I love candles-just saying- I'll get back to the story. So I had finished buying my stuff and was looking to get a snack in the cafe when it happened. And let me tell you- it freaked me out! I mean if someone was spilling coffee on you and you stopped it in midair with no idea you could even do that- wouldn't that freak you out too?!
Luckily for me, a witch named Elana saw what I did and how freaked I was. She sat me down and explained things to me. Then she asked if I would like to meet with someone who could help me control my power. Apparently, there is an entire community of people out there who have actual "magical" powers. Ok, I have to state this, I don't believe in magic. Oh, I don't think I'm crazy or anything, but I don't believe in magic as Hollywood and books talk about it. What I do believe is that certain people can manipulate energies in the universe. You know, like how people sometimes think they can control the elements. Well, they can do it, but there are just more elements than we thought. Right. If I'm confusing you sorry, and if you get what I'm saying- Finally! Someone who understands me.
So she set me up an appointment with a guy named Damien Gutier. I'm kinda hoping he's an old guy. I don't do well with people my own age (I'm about 20 by the way). My friends call me shy, I call me an anti-social witch (hehe get it? I have powers and- never mind). And now I'm sitting in the cafe, drinking a coke, and waiting for three o'clock. I glanced at my watch. He has exactly...two minutes and...twenty-six seconds. I can't stand it when someone is late, to me that is one of the worst offenses possible. Early is ok, but if you're late...
The door to the cafe opened, and the little bell rang announcing someone's arrival. In walked a young man, about 23, with dark brown hair falling past his shoulders and pulled back in a ponytail at the nape of his neck, and laughing green eyes- that's the only way to describe them accurately, it's like they had a life of their own and they were amused by what they saw. He had a nice tan, his lips were thin but sensuous, and he, well, he looked like he should be in Hollywood or on a runway. His build was lean and muscular. And he was wearing jeans and a white button down, the sleeves and all smudged with paints.
I looked out the window and hoped he didn't come over to talk to me, I never get along well with people my age. Their maturity level doesn't seem to be high enough for me, or maybe I really was just a b**. Eh, whatever.
Unfortunately, within the minute I heard, "Are you Selene?"
His voice was rich and smooth- it reminded me of dark chocolate (if you have a problem with that- :P). I liked it.
"Yes, I am. Are you Damien?"
He nodded and sat down. "This is my first time... helping someone, so feedback would be much appreciated." He seemed nervous, more so than me.
"I'd be glad to oblige, but I'm new at this too. I'll do what I can."
He gave a short laugh, "Me too." I smiled weakly at him. "You don't seem too happy to be here."
I blinked, I hadn't expected him to be so perceptive. "I'm not a real social person. I hope you'll excuse me if I seem too odd."
"Well, you are acting a bit formal. Loosen up. I'm your teacher, not your jailer."
I laughed, "Good point. What are we doing today?"
Our lesson lasted about an hour. No magic today, though. We covered the basics. What I'd be learning, what I wouldn't, how long I'd be training, and we talked a bit about ourselves. Here's what I learned about him: He's been doing this magic stuff his whole life, he's also an artist and likes to paint (thus the stains on his shirt), he has three brothers and a sister (all younger than him), and also various details like his favorite movie genre (action/sci-fi), etc. It was a good conversation, probably the best I've had with someone who wasn't one of my friends. After the lesson was over, we set up another one for Wednesday (It was Sunday) at his place. Seeing as he had a workroom and all the books we needed.
As I was walking out the door, an amulet on display caught my eye. It wasn't anything special, just a tarnished piece of engraved silver on a silver chain, but it called to me. Something inside of me said it was mine. Before I really new what I was doing, I grabbed it off of the shelf and was paying for it at the register. Outside I took a closer look at it, the engravings seemed to resembled words. It felt like I should now what they said, but the language was just out of reach. I placed the amulet around my neck and went home, shaking off the weird feelings. But I couldn't shake off the premonition that something was going to happen. Soon.
The next week or two I had my hands full learning to control my new powers. Not to mention all of the schoolwork I had to do and my job (I work at Border's. Surprise, surprise). And then there was that nasty premonition that had me all worked up. I couldn't concentrate, my sleep was disturbed, and I was IMPATIENT. For what I hadn't the slightest idea, but I was. That's what bugged me the most, I didn't know what was going to happen, but I wanted it to happen. It was strange and unnerving. I considered telling Damien about it once or twice, but always backed out at the last minute. Somehow it seemed important that I keep this to myself. I really didn't have a clue as to why- at this point I was just sticking to my instincts and hoping they were right. I didn't have a reason not to.
So as I went up the walkway to Damien's house (it was really nice- two stories, tan colored stucco on the outside, Spanish influenced architecture, and just plain huge on the inside) I contemplated once again, whether or not to tell him. I should probably at least tell him about the amulet I bought. Maybe he'll know what is engraved on it- or have a book that can tell us.
Oh yeah, I should probably describe his workroom. It has a concrete floor (so he doesn't have to worry about ruining the floor with circles or anything, he has rugs that he can move out of the way), two walls are lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that are filled with books, candles, and other stuff needed for everything he does in there, and the wall with the door has cabinets- also filled with stuff he needs. The wall facing the backyard has floor-to-ceiling windows that double as doors. So basically the wall color doesn't matter because you can't see it. And, no, it's not crowded in there, the room is pretty big. It runs along the whole back of the house (there's a lot of books in there). And of course it has to be wide enough to make a pretty large circle.
I got to the door and started to ring the bell. The door opened before I could and a face that was small, pixie-ish, and had bright blue eyes stared up at me. A woman who was shorter than me- maybe 5'2"- was looking at me like I was a cockroach or worse. I had to admit, however grudgingly, that she was stunning. Besides her perfect face, she had butt-length blonde hair. No, blonde didn't cover it, it was a mixture between silver and gold, depending on how you looked at it. Just by the unusual color I could tell it had to be natural. Then, there was the fact that she must have weighed only about 100 pounds (hey, she's five two, that's not too too skinny for someone that tall). I felt like groaning. She HAD to be his girlfriend, there was no way she couldn't be. Barring blood-relationship of course.
"And you are...?" She was still looking at me like I was the least important thing on Earth. She probably just wanted to know who I was because I was standing in her way and she wanted to make her insult personal. Oops, there I go, assuming the worst of people again. You know what they say about assuming- it makes an- well, you get the point.
"Selene." I didn't feel like explaining that I was Damien's student. If she didn't know that was her problem. "You?"
"Damien's girlfriend." HAH! I knew it! Although, she didn't have to tell me with that particular tone of voice. Talk about snooty! Take a chill pill lady (Yes, I realize that is an incredibly corny saying. that doesn't mean I won't use it). "Why are you here?" Abrupt much?
"For my lesson." Guess she didn't know I was his student after all. "You didn't tire him out too much did you?" OK, that was uncalled for, but I was actually kind of curious. What can I say? She didn't look like the type that any sane boy would leave alone. Not prudish in the least; not slutty, but not prudish either.
Her face reddened and I heard laughter from behind her. Damien had caught my last comment. At least he found it funny. "Well, Damien?" I asked.
"No. I'll be in full working order. We have work to do today." He was still smiling at my quip, but she (Damien's girlfriend) was beginning to get angry. "This is Shayna. We were just watching a movie." I raised my eyebrow (just one, I'm good like that). When couples watch a movie alone, they generally don't actually pay much attention to a movie. "Get your mind out of the gutter, Selene. Not everyone is like that you know." He reprimanded me lightly.
"No, but most people are."
"Well," Shayna spoke up, "I've got to go, honey." She turned to Damien and kissed him. Like I wasn't there. I just raised my eyebrow again at Damien as Shayna walked past me. Once they were done, that is.
"Come on, we've got work to do." He was blushing. How cute!
I smirked and walked inside.
As I was walking out of his house, I made a snap decision to ask him about the amulet. I pulled it out from under my shirt and stopped at the door. "Damien. Do you happen to know what this says? Or if these markings even mean anything?"
He blinked at me and took the amulet. After studying it for a bit, he handed it back to me and said, "I can't tell you what it says, but the markings look like some kind of hieroglyphs. Maybe Egyptian, but probably really early Egyptian." I nodded. "I think I have a book in the workroom, if you want to try and find out what it says."
I smiled, "That. Would. Be. Great." I threw my arms around his neck, "Did I ever mention how awesome you are?"
"No, I don't believe you have. Let's go."
We spent the next hour looking at the book he had pulled off of one of the shelves. A lot of it I didn't understand, but Damien kindly explained it to me. "I think I found it!" His exclamation roused me from my thoughts.
"What?" I asked excitedly.
"Look." He held the book out to me. In it was a sketch of my amulet- a very accurate sketch. The only difference- and I mean the ONLY difference- was that it was on a different chain.
I looked at the passage next to the picture. 'The amulet was lost in 1732 by the company on the trip to New York. Despite being searched for, it has yet to reappear.' Wait, I'm missing something. I flipped back a page. 'One of the most perplexing mysteries of early Egypt is the so called "Amulet Belonging To Death" which is the closest translation that can be made into the English language. The ancient people of Egypt had great fear of this amulet, that was said to belong to Osiris himself. Throughout the ages it has belonged to a family who have protected it with their lives. Until the early 1700's when it was placed in the hands of an English museum, by the last member of the family. It was then bought by the American museum.' I turned the page back over. 'Although modern scientists are doubtful, it was rumored to have great power in the realms of the dead, and it was even supposed to have power in the realms of the living. It's attributes were, for the most part, unknown, but it's said that it had control over the world around you- manipulating the earth, fire, air, wind, light, and darkness, mainly. There was also speculation that it control the human-'
I stopped reading and put the book down. I didn't need to see anymore, I had the point. And with everything I had seen lately, I wasn't sure whether to believe that this was a amulet of power or not.
Damien opened the book and read aloud, "'The amulet could only be used by certain people, by those who are here to protect the human race, in the times when the fates of all are at risk, and must be again decided.' When fate is decided, huh? Does that mean that Hitler's come back to life and your going to have to defeat him in WWIII?" I guess he believed in it's power.
I laughed, "It's probably just a copy of the amulet or something. One thing is for sure- I won't ever have to use the thing."
"Does it feel like a copy to you?" When I didn't answer he continued, "And why shouldn't it be you that uses it? You are the one that found it. Or rather, I'm betting, it found you."
"I'm having a hard enough time adjusting as is, Damien. I don't think the amulet would 'choose' someone who doesn't even know how to control her own powers." I sighed and got up to go to the door.
"Fine, but I'd study hard if I were you. If you have that amulet, you never know what could happen. Or when." He squeezed my hand in an attempt to comfort me, and walked me to my car. "I'll see ya next time?" I nodded and left, calling "Bye!" as I drove away.
I had a feeling he was right. Lucky for me, nothing happened for the next few months. That is, until, May 28th, a few days after school was out, and I just happened to have a hot date. Is it possible that the universe has it out for me?
Alright, I mentioned a date didn't I? His name is Tristan, he's about 6'1", with platinum blonde hair, midnight-blue eyes, and the face of an angel. OK, so I didn't snag him on my own. He's one of my friends cousins, and he happened to be in town with nothing to do. Seeing as I had nothing to do either, Elise, my friend, decided we should go out on a date. Wasn't it so sweet of her? Eh, I shouldn't be so mean. She meant well; it's just that I don't take real well to having people decide this kind of stuff for me. I made sure to thank her, and to promise her I would try not to bore him- or, more likely, scare him.
The doorbell rang, and I ran to get the door- not literally, though. I was wearing a simple black skirt made of a shiny stretchy fabric, an emerald green cami with gold leaves embroidered on it- and gold vines and leaves on the edges, and lace up gold, flat, sandals on my feet. Elise would have said that I looked like the Greek goddess Artemis. Oh yeah, I wasn't really wearing make-up. Didn't like the stuff, couldn't put it on, and didn't like having to scrub until my face was raw to get it off.
"Hey!" I said as I opened the door.
He smiled at me, "Hay is for horses, don't ya know?"
Uhh...Ok, he's not all bad. At least we can have fun teasing each other tonight, it'll give us something to talk about. "Maybe, but I thought cows could eat it too."
He laughed and we set off for out destination, a club downtown. Apparently it was the club to go to. Thus the no high heels thing- if I'm going to be dancing, I want to be able to dance all night.
After we got to the club, everything went fine for a while. Tristan and I danced, had a few drinks (of the non-alcoholic sort) and talked- by which I mean, we yelled over the music. He was a pretty nice guy, but I don't think I'd date him if we hadn't been set up. He was more friend material.
Things started going wrong when Tristan headed for the bathroom. There was a line- which was because its usually only the girls room that has a line- so he'd probably be gone for a while. I decided to take a break from dancing and headed over to our table.
After about five minutes of sitting down, I noticed this guy staring at me from off to the side of the dance floor. He looked like a real creep, slicked back hair, a perpetual sneer on his face, dirty and torn jeans, and a black HIM T-shirt. Why does this guy have to be staring at me? It was really freaking me out. There was just something... not right about this guy. But, I figured I was safe enough in the club. Lots of witnesses, he wouldn't try anything in here, right?
When he started to head over to me, though, I got a little- or a lot- nervous. He reached the table and leaned down over me. "Hey honey, you wanna come with me? We could have some fun." Yuck. His breath stunk of alcohol, it made me want to puke.
"No thanks, buddy. Back off, and go find someone else." I spat at him. Probably not the smartest thing I've ever done, but hey, sometimes I just can't control myself.
He stopped smiling, "You'll regret that." he threatened, and then stomped off.
This was the point where my 'flight' response kicked. A little late, but hey, better late than never, right? I grabbed my purse and headed back onto the dance floor. By my logic it would be safer there. Lots of people to hide me, and lots of people to play witness. Not to mention there was hardly enough room to breathe on the dance floor, let alone actually try to do anything other than dance.
As I was surrounded by the swirling laser lights, the grinding, sliding bodies, and the hard bass thump of a rap song, my head began to spin- like on of those spinning tops kids are always playing with. My sight started to go a bit out of focus, and my sense of time went out the door. One second was a century, the next was non-existent, and the next was normal. It couldn't tell how long I stood there, that part of my memory is kind of fuzzy.
Wait! There's Tristan. He'll help me. God, I need to go home!
Then it was all gone. One second there was the club, and the next I'm staring into this gray mist. Ok, wall-like mist. I couldn't see past my nose. Everything was gone. The smell of the place was acidic, disgusting.
I didn't really freak out, I didn't have the chance to. My head swam more quickly than before. My sight came and went. Couldn't see at all. Couldn't think. What happened to the club? What happened to me? What is this pl--
Oh, my head hurts! Wha- I Fainted! Where am I?
I opened my eyes and looked around from my vantage point on the ground. The mist had gone, but the acrid smells still hung in the air. Wonderful. Now I want to puke. The world wasn't a particularly beautiful place at the moment. The sky was a slate gray, but oddly enough there were no clouds. The trees surrounding me were twisted and black with death. There was no grass. Nothing ALIVE. I could hear no animals, see nothing moving. And the only evidence of life was the ruins of a castle that I could see in the distance- I had this really weird feeling about the castle, I couldn't identify it.
No. I take that back, furrows were opened in the black dirt- I think it was hard-packed ash- and in them I could see a pulsing orange-red light. In its own way it seemed alive. At least more alive than anything else in this forsaken place.
"It's lava. And I suppose it is alive as much as it can be." The voice from behind me made me jump. At least two feet in the air. An amazing feat for someone sitting on their butt, not to mention a painful one.
He chuckled at my reaction. At least I think it was a he. He was squatting behind me when I twisted around to face him. His hair fell onto the ground, and a good three or four inches curled there. I couldn't tell from his features, nor his voice that he was a he. They were both somehow sexless. But his body wasn't. Yep, definitely a guy, there's no bust there. But I haven't finished describing his face. Like I said his features were sexless. Pointy chin, but it wasn't quite delicate. Large eyes that reminded me of anime eyes- black though, no pupils. His cheeks were defined, but not highly so. His lips were sensuous, but thin. His nose was straight, not wide but certainly long. His face- heart shaped. Overall he reminded me of a sidhe. Or my idea of what a sidhe should be.
"Well don't just sit there. Say something. It's fairly disconcerting to have someone stare at you like they're not sure whether you're actually there." He stood up, and that's when I noticed that sticking out of his tunic ( it was black of course) were two bat wings- or dragon wings really. He'd had them folded in so I couldn't see them, and so they wouldn't drag on the ground.
"OK. How about 'Where the hell am I?' or better yet 'Why am I here?'" Gosh- isn't sarcasm the greatest. I probably just signed my death warrant.
Instead he laughed again. "You know, most humans are scared of me when they first see me. They have a tendency to be scared of anything unfamiliar. A change is refreshing.
"You are in one of 'The Realms of the Dead'. As for why you are here, I'm not sure, but I'd bet it has something to do with the amulet that sits so acquiescently around your neck. You know the amulet has been known to kill humans who dare to touch it. I wonder why it lets you wear it at all.
"Oh, never mind. I shall find out later. For now I have orders to take you to Styx."
Styx! "I thought the Styx was a river, in the Greek Underworld. 'The river of hate'."
"No, the river was named after Styx. And it was so named because to the Greeks he seemed full of hate. In my opinion I think it is simply misplaced wrath, but then I'm just an underling. Come on, he won't wait all day."
Wow- he seems kinda long winded. At least he's free with info. I think I'm going to need as much information as I can possibly get. Besides, it never hurts to get to know the rules in a new place. I don't really feel like getting beat up because I did something I didn't know I wasn't supposed to do. Oh, man, I'm so gonna die!
We walked towards the ruins I had seen in the distance. Unfortunately he didn't volunteer any more information and I didn't ask. I figured I was pretty much either being taken to be killed, imprisoned, or something else unpleasant. Why, you ask, did I think something bad awaited me? Lets just say this didn't look like a happy place.
We must have walked for several hours, but I didn't get tired, or hungry, or thirsty. Something in my face must have looked curious- or, let's just call him Mr. Guy, could read minds. Personally I think it was the latter. "I told you, we are in a Realm of the Dead. The dead don't need anything to 'function properly' and so while you are here, neither shall you. No food, or drink is needed. No having to go to the bathroom, or sleep. You don't get tired. I can't imagine how you humans are always having to do those things anyway. They take up so much time, and are so boring. I don't see the point..."
From there on Mr. Guy went on a rant, and I ignored him while I contemplated what he said. No food, drink, or sleep needed. Whoa! Talk about having to make a major adjustment. Although I don't suppose its too bad, the need to sleep does get a little annoying sometimes. But on the other hand- what kind of world is this where you can't get comfort food?! I bet that no comfort food drives people crazy. It would sure make me go on a killing rampage!
"Here we are!" Mr. Guy proclaimed, bringing me out of my reverie. We had approached the ruins while I had been distracted. Up close they were breath taking. A Gothic masterpiece, for sure. The stones were gray, with black streaks of soot covering much of it. The windows had no glass, but that only made them seem more menacing. Like a great evil was staring out at you through the shadows. Perhaps one was, one going by the name of Styx maybe? The central keep had almost no roof left. Flanking it were four wings, each with a tower attached to the end. If you looked down on it from directly above it would look like a cross. Gargoyles were placed here and there on the roofs- and several on balconies on upper floors. To get into the great hall of the keep you had to climb a grand stone staircase, like the ones you always see in movies. Chunks of the keep and the wings were missing, destroyed by some unknown force. Overall it was a castle that fit with the backdrop of the black and dead forest, and the gray sky.
Mr. Guy lead me up the stone stairs and through a gaping hole where a door should have been. Inside was no less desolate than outside. Empty stone corridors that were cold and drafty. Dust gathered in cracks between the stones, but there were no spider webs. I was reminded that there seemed to be no life here. On the walls were empty iron torch racks. They looked like they hadn't been used in a while. No light was here I guess either. We wound our way through the corridors until we approached great oak double doors, with intricate carvings and jewels set into them. "Styx is through there. Bow when you enter, and when you are introduced. Don't speak unless spoken to, blah, blah, blah. I'm sure you've seen this enough times in those silly moving pictures you humans have. Just treat him with respect and fear- and like you're afraid he'll kill you if you so much as blink wrong. Now come on, stop stalling me."
Stalling you? What world are you from dude? Oh, yeah, that's right. This one.
He opened the doors without touching them, and waved me through. I stepped into the Great Hall and was met with this sight.
A long banquet table on a dais was in the center of the huge room. Tapestries of black, white, grey, and red hung on the walls. Fireplaces large enough to fit a hundred people into were set into each wall, two on the wall with the oaken doors, and the one opposite. Around the fireplaces were more carvings and jewels.
But the man at the head of the table was what had captured my attention. More specifically his hair. It was the exact same shade that my own was. I did not want to see what the implication was. I wanted to run. Home.
His voice, when he spoke, was cold and full of ...rage. For a second, it confused me, until I processed what he had said. Then I just wanted this to be a dream-so I could wake up. "So, sister dearest, you've finally decided to return home. How gracious of you."
"Sis- What are you talking about?! I'm your- How? Why? Oh, hell! I might as well ask- Who? What? Where? and When?"
But now that I think about it, he kind of did look like me. A little. Ok. A lot. His hair was the exact same shade of red as mine. His brown eyes were not so exactly like mine, but similar enough to be eerie. They had this weird light to them, like they were being lit from inside. Creepy. His overall bone structure in the face was much similar to my own. Oval face, long nose, high, slightly prominent cheekbones, arching brows and deep-set eyes. His lips were thinner than mine, and more cruel. But the biggest difference was the impression our faces made. My face gave the impression of an ice queen, yes, but one that was still human, and approachable- If you had the courage. There was something about him that screamed fire, rage, no mercy. You wouldn't mistake him for human easily.
He chuckled. Greeeeaat, I'm funny to him. "Hmm... I suppose you want your questions answered in chronological order.
"What am I talking about? You are my sister, and have been gone for quite some time. Sister- by the way means we have the same father, neither of us now who our mothers are. Unless you're keeping something from me.
"How? Well, you should have learned the mechanics of it by now." Let me just say one thing- EEEWWW!
"Why? Who knows, our father doesn't give reasons without a reason of his own.
"Who? Our father is Hades or Anubis. Whatever name he is given, he is the Lord of the Dead, and the Underworld.
"What? That would make you a half-Goddess, or half-Demon, depending on your beliefs.
"Where? I have no answer for this question, Although I suppose I could tell you where you are now- my dimension, not the Underworld, but in between the Underworld and Earth. Limbo, I suppose you could call it.
"When? You were born, oh, what was it, Kini? Five thousand years ago?"
Mr. Guy spoke up from behind me, "I think it was closer to six." Apparently his name is Kini. Wonder if it means something. Nah, maybe his mom was just mean. Hold on a sec- SIX THOUSAND YEARS?! W?! T?! H?!
"Woah, there is no friggin' way I am that old. I mean hello! I have a birthday, a birth certificate, and videos of me growing up! What are you people on?! No, don't answer that. I must be dreaming. Or hallucinating. Or something.." After that I realized I was ranting, and promptly shut my mouth. Not that it matters, I am hallucinating after all. Unfortunately there was a little voice in the back of my mind saying 'Nu-uh, chica. You know they're tellin' the truth, you do. So listen carefully, and remember, because you know you can.'
However, during my rant, Styx (my brother) had fallen to the floor- laughing. By the time I was finished, he was gasping for breath and couldn't stand upright. "Of...c-course...you can...remem...ber...every...thing...if you...try h-hard...enough." he choked out in between laughs and gasps for breath. Wait, did he just read my thoughts. Oh, man, I'm so going to need to get some help, of the mental sort. "N-now don't...go and ruh...un off. You're... not going....crazy, I promise."
I snorted out loud, "Yeah, that really makes me feel better. Ya bloody jitse."
"Stop calling me that!" Wow- dÃ© ja vu, big time. It must have shown on my face because this is what he said next, "Ha! You do remember, don't you?" Meanwhile Kini was rolling his eyes and muttering something that sounded like, "Not even together for five minutes and they're already bickering!Pht!"
Styx went back to being serious again. I swear this guy has more mood swings than when I'm PMS-ing! "Come on, I'll prove it to you." He then proceeded out of the room; apparently expecting me to follow. So I did. It's not like I had anything better to do. We went down a few corridors, some of them lit by torches, others pitch black. When the corridor was pitch black, I just grabbed onto Kini's shirt. The first time, I must of grabbed too hard because he made this really funny choking noise and almost fell over- knocking me onto my butt in the process. Styx and Kini didn't have a problem seeing in the dark, apparently.
Finally we arrived at another room. There wasn't a door, just an archway with runes carved into the border. The room was lit with hundreds of candles. The far wall was lined with portraits, otherwise the room was empty. "Look at the two in the middle." I didn't want to look. Have you ever experienced a feeling of absolute dread? Well, that's how I felt about looking at the portraits. "Go ahead, look." I'll do it in my own time buddy, don't get your panties in a bunch.
I walked slowly over to the opposite wall. I really didn't know why I didn't want to look. Then I stopped just in front of the two portraits in the middle. And that would be why I didn't want to look.
The portrait to my left was of Styx. But the one on my right was of... well me! It was a very old portrait, and there was no way it could have been done within the last three centuries, but it was most definitely a portrait of me. Eyes, yep those are the same, maybe a bit more expressionless, but the same. Lips, yep. Nose, yep. Cheeks, yep. Hair, yep- wait, no it's a bit longer. The same color though. Oh, cr- I mean, I'm picking apart the details of an impossible portrait. This is- I- AAAAHHHHH (that's a mental scream, FYI)
"Stop trying to deny what you know is true." Styx spoke up from directly behind me, making me jump about two feet into the air. Woah, buddy, personal space here. "The quicker you can accept who you are, the sooner you will be able to leave- if that is what you will want by then."
"How?" Probably not what I should be demanding, but hey, it's what came out of my mouth first.
"If you accept who you are, you will have full access to your powers. This is your realm too. You have the ability to leave it if you so choose, but it is your home, and your 'expirement' is due to be finished with. Do you not feel the wish that your heart makes for you to stay?"
I did, now that he mentioned it. I had been feeling it all along, and hadn't known what is was- therefore I had ignored it until now. But it was seriously freaking me out. "Tell me how. I just want to get out of here. ASAP."
Now Kini spoke up- "She will not stay, Master Styx. She refuses to remember us, and her responsibilities here. If she loves her mortal world so much, let her return to it!" Somebody is bitter. What did I ever do to him? Oh, yeah, he keeps telling me that I left. Whatever.
Hey! "What's so bad about the 'mortal world'! I grew up there you- you- really-bad-word-that-I-can't-say-out-loud-because-I-was-brought-up-to-be-a-good-girl." Well, that was kind of a mouthful. Eh, it got my point across.
"Mortals. Are. Over. Rated." He enunciated each word carefully, glaring at me, and practically breathing fire.
"Nuh-uh! Demons. Are. Over. Rated. And. They. Are. Stinky. SO THERE!" I copied him in the enunciating, and the glaring. Unfortunatly, I don't know if I actually looked ready to breath fire.
Styx, who had been watching the show, calmly interrupted. "Neither mortals, or demons are over-rated. They are both necessary parts of the universe. And they both happen to be stinky- depending on who you encounter. Now stop bickering you two, you're getting off subject."
We both glared at him. Feel my wrath! You shall be incinerated be my glare! He looked down at his sleeve in surprise, and my gaze followed his. HOLY MOLY! His sleeve was on fire! Did I-?
"Could you not do that, Selene? I'm not particularly fond of being set on fire. Or- how did you put it?- Incinerated?" Well, at least he was completely calm about what just happened.
"I would say sorry, but I'm really not." I responded absently, too stunned to think straight.
"Please, just try to remember everything. It would make this so much easier on both of us." Styx sighed, "Well, maybe not, but I you wouldn't be so confused, and I wouldn't have to deal with your lack of control."
I nodded. Remembering was seeming like a better idea all the time. "How?" I asked once again.
"Let it come to you. Close your eyes if it helps." I nodded again, and did as he advised. I let it come to me.
At first there were so many flashes, so many memories, that I couldn't separate one from the other. Soon, though, I figured out how to slow them down. Styx was there, he was a child and a teenager, and then an adult. I grew up with him. We fought. We played. We blew things up together, threw things- mostly fire and balls of energy- at each other. We were typical, super powered siblings. Ok, so not so typical. Then there was a man, who look like the both of us. Father. Even if he didn't look like his children, I would've known. He was harsh, stern, sometimes cruel, but also kind. Always with new presents, and new information for us. He tought us to fight together, to use our powers, taught us how to rule the kingdoms that were our inheritances. Other people were in our memories too, friends, enemies, other gods and goddesses, demons, fairies. Apparently, I got around.
On and on the memories went. Time was lost to me. The only thing left was the memories, and slowly I became myself again. That may sound weird, but as a human, I was not my full self. Part of my personality had been lost, and now it was back. But the time I had spent with the humans had made its mark. And I was not completely the same. It felt so odd, like there were almost two personalities sitting side by side in my head. They were similar, but not the same.
I opened my eyes.
"It will, perhaps, take some time for you to readjust. But I am happy that you are home. The next time you decide to do some idiotic expirement, I will kick your butt so hard, you won't recover for a millenia." Styx said from where he was sitting on the floor.
"As if you could." I replied contemptuously, "How long was I...?"
"More than nine hours. You had a lot of memories to sort through."
"Yeah. Its- Well, to tell the truth, it feels so weird. When I went to live as a human, I never imagined that it would feel like this when I came home. I'm not ... the same anymore. I am Selene the human, as well as the goddess."
Styx smirked. "I guess I won't be repeating your experiment then. I'm perfectly happy the way I am."
"You wouldn't be able to change even if you did leave. Which reminds me..." I threw a fireball at him.
"What was that for?!" He practically screeched once he had the fire put out.
"You took far too long to convince me of what I was." I said with a flip of my hair, as I walked to my chambers that were always kept ready for me at Styx's home.
My room in the North wing was actually very beautiful. The floor was a deep rich cherry wood, as was most of the furniture. There was a huge four-poster bed sitting on a raised dais, with cream drapes and coverlets- and a pile of pillows in gold and cream big enough to cushion ten or twelve people. Brilliant scarlet and gold silk was draped over the walls. There was a dome made of glass over the bed with iron leaves and vines worked into it. Black veil curtains were hung under it. Hundreds of candles littered the room. Tall pillars, ones on stands, all kinds of different candles, all in a basic white color, but no wax was on the floor, or running down the candles despite it being apparent that they had been burned many times. A huge mirror made of obsidian took up half of one of the walls. Another wall had an archway with elaborate designs etched onto it, this led to the bathroom, dressing room, and closet. Yet another wall boasted a large display of weapons - swords of all kinds, knives, fans, and a couple of scimitars even.
Everything was covered with a layer of dust. I simply willed it away and lit all of the candles at the same time. The room lit up in a flickering glow. I felt like I was home for the first time in my life. No, again, home again. This was going to take some getting used to. I wasn't the same person I had been a few hours ago, and it really stunk big-time.
I sighed and fell onto my bed face first. It smelled musty. It used to smell like cinnamon and roses. Unique, but still good smelling. As I remembered the smell, my magic willed it back into being, and my bed smelled like it used to. Now, that I could get used to.
Since I didn't particularly feel like getting up, I just lay there taking in the smell of my coverlet and sheets, and eventually I fell asleep. I dreamed of the past.
There is nothing that interests me in life anymore, I thought as I leaned against the balcony railing at my father's home in the realm of the gods, and fiddled with the tarnished silver amulet set around my neck. [Mt. Olympus was a myth, and the gods from every culture did not exist, there was only one set of gods and different cultures chose to represent them differently. ] I didn't even bother to turn around as I heard someone approach me from behind.
'It's a beautiful night, is it not?' My current beaux queried from behind me, as his arms slid around my waist. I looked up and glared at him. 'You're right, it always is in this place.'
I let out a mournful sigh and he chuckled. 'It doesn't change, just like the people here don't change. It all gets rather boring, after awhile.
'That's why so many of us have interests, businesses, and hobbies in other realms. Maybe you should think of doing something outside of any of your "home realms".'
That actually doesn't sound like a bad idea, but... 'What would I do there? I've already seen it all, there may be new technology in the mortal realms, but its all the same! New things come, but people don't change. And I already know the hearts of people. I can see a mortal, and predict nearly word for word what he or she will say in any conversation! There would be no point in going, I would be just as bored there as I am here.'
'And what if you didn't know the hearts of humans so well? Would you be willing to go then?' He left me with his words echoing in my head. If I didn't know. If I didn't...
Two weeks later, I was with Styx at his home, explaining my plan to him. 'You're crazy! Why would you want to do that!? Are you so desperate? Hell, I could kill a few gods or something, if you want amusement so badly. But this is just plain crazy. How can you be sure that it'll even work? Or if you'll ever get your memory back?' Styx was in a good mood today. No, I'm serious, he was. Otherwise he would've just thrown a few fireballs at my head, called me an idiot, and given me one of his infamous glares.
'That's why I came to you, brother. I've arranged it so that I'll come here after I have spent my time in the mortal realms, and you can help me get my memories back. And I will get them back. Although, you'll probably have to help me readjust.'
He looked at me like I was crazy, and maybe I was. I was desperate certainly, and I knew I'd do this with or without his help. 'Fine. I know that stubborn look. I won't be able to dissuade you in a thousand lifetimes. You have my cooperation. Begone, sister mine!'
I smiled and left, I had to pick out what woman would carry my soul and my body, so I could be born in the mortal realms, and arrange for my amulet to be found by myself around the time it was for me to go home. I certainly couldn't carry it with me my whole mortal life. It would be too dangerous. ''Thank you, my brother.' I called as I walked out the front entrance to Styx's castles. Goodbye, old! Hello, new!
I woke to someone singing softly. It was a lullaby. I wasn't motivated enough to lift my head and see who it was, so I just listened. I always had loved this song, it was so beautiful. It was in the language of the gods, and the words flowed together and over each other like water. The person with the worst singing voice in the world could sing this song, and it would still sound beautiful. And when someone with a great voice sang it, well...
The person in the did have an excellent voice. I let the words flow over me, and drifted off into space. When the song was over, I lifted my head to find Kini sitting on one of the pillows littering the floor of the room. I must of thrown them off the bed while sleeping. "Morning sleepy head." He smirked at me.
I groaned and rolled over. "Wipe that smile off your face, before I do."
"Oh, so, then you don't want to see the cute little mortal who landed on our doorstep while you were asleep, demanding to know what we had done to you?"
I bolted off the bed, "What?! Damien is here?! Why didn't you say so sooner. Move it buddy, show me where he is. Oh, never mind." With that I ran out of the room. I could hear Kini howling with laughter in my room, so I sent back a spell to lock him in. I really don't like people laughing at me.
I stopped my headlong sprint just outside the main hall. I could hear Damien yelling at Styx even through the thick doors. Carefully, I opened one of the doors and stepped inside. "WHERE THE HELL IS SHE? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HER? I KNOW SHE'S HERE BUDDY! ANSWER ME!" Styx looked like he was about ready to blast Damien's head off. Frankly, I was grateful he had refrained from doing so this long.
"I'm right here, Damien, so you can stop yelling. Thanks for being patient with him Styx."
"Trust me, he'd have been dead awhile ago if I hadn't known you would hold a serious grudge against me. And you with a grudge is scary." He walked out without looking back at us. "Have fun, sis." I stuck my tongue out at his back. It may be childish, but this is how we always act around each other. Or acted, or.. Whatever.
Meanwhile, Damien was sitting there looking confused. "What was that? Are you ok? They didn't hurt you, did they?"
I motioned for Damien to sit down at the table, and took a spot next to him. "I'm fine, they didn't hurt me. But we need to talk, and then I can send you home."
"Send me home? As in you're not going with me? I'm not leaving without you. The whole coven is worried sick. How do you think I got here in the first place?"
"I don't know. That's a good question. You want to go first, and then let me go?" I smiled hopefully as he thought it over.
"Sure." he muttered, "After you didn't show up for our lesson on Saturday, I got a little worried. You weren't answering your cell phone or anything. After a couple of days nobody had heard from you and your date said you had just disappeared, so I talked to the coven about the amulet. Thinking it might have had something to do with your disappearance."
There seemed to be a question mark hanging at the end of the sentence, so I said, "Yes, it kinda did. Please..."
He nodded and continued. "So we did some more research into the amulet. Found some stuff about other realms. We worked for a couple of weeks-" Weeks? I'm gonna have to ask about that. "We decided that I should be the one to come and get you. Then when I get here there's this nasty mist and it smells horrible! When the mist finally clears, I saw the castle. I figured I might as well head there, since it was the only building I could see in this whole place. After I get here, I still don't see anybody, but I got this feeling that something was here. Besides, I didn't know where else you could be! So I bang on the door, and this weird looking guy shows up asking what I want. And well, I ended up here."
"Styx didn't threaten you did he? Wait, first, how long have I been gone? Time differences between the realms are always fluctuating."
He looked at me oddly, probably wondering how I would know about time differences between realms in the first place. Or he was just wondering if I was crazy. "You've been gone about eight weeks. Didn't you notice? Or have you been having too much 'fun'?"
I snorted. "As far as I can tell, I've been away maybe two days tops. So, no I haven't noticed the passage of eight weeks." I paused to contemplate what could've been happened at home in eight weeks. Like I said, time works differently here." I felt only a distant regret- well it was something a little less than a regret I think- that I had missed it. That surprised me, a few hours ago, I would've been worried about my family and friends, and I would miss home, etc. Had I really changed that much?
"You haven't answered my first question."
"No. Are you going to tell me what happened?"
"Umm..." How to start? "Well, so I didn't really decide to come here per-sÃ©. I'm pretty sure that the amulet did that on its own. The same thing happened to me with the mist and the bad smells, but I got a welcoming committee. Kini brought me to here, to speak with Styx." OK, now comes the hard part. "You see, um, Styx is, well, he's my brother." I winced slightly, not willing to look to see Damien's reaction.
"Your...brother? But that would make you not..."
"Human. I'm not human, Damien. I'm at least half-goddess, maybe more, depending on who my brother is. I'm over six thousand years old. The amulet is mine by birthright. I was only on Earth because I was bored, and I wanted to do something new. So I had my memory erased, and arranged for the amulet to bring me back home at a certain time in my life. I guess I really didn't think it out. I didn't expect to form any attachments or to have anybody come after me. That's what I get for bad planning, I guess."
I chanced a glance at Damien. He looked a little pale, and a lot shocked. At least he didn't look like he wasn't believing me. That was good, convincing him of who I was would be time consuming. The benefits of working with wiccans I guess, they are more ready to believe in the unbelievable.
"Damien? Do you want to go home now? It might take me a few minutes to sort through my memories, but I know how to get you home without much trouble."
I put my hand on his shoulder. That seemed to shake him out of his reverie. "No. I don't want... to go home just yet. I... this is so..." He was at a loss for words.
"Yeah, unexpected. I mean, you're a goddess! That's freaky even to me, and you know I don't exactly deal with 'normal' day to day stuff. Ever."
I smiled weakly. "I know. How about we go talk to Kini? I'm sure he'd like to take you on a tour of the library. Although, once you see the library here, you might never want to leave."
"It's that good?"
"Yep. All kinds of magic stuff. You would have to use a few lifetimes just to read it all. And the gallery is fabulous. You can see that too. I'm sure you'll be able to appreciate the artwork more than I ever could."
Damien followed me up to my room- I had to unlock Kini so he could show Damien around. When he saw the library, he was so distracted by the books he forgot everything else. Just like I had hoped. Sometimes its good to get your mind off of the big stuff, and by the time you get back to it, you've usually already accepted it. After we finally got him out of the library, we headed to the gallery. Kini and I gave up trying to speak to him after that. He was determined on examining each and every painting. And it was a really, really big gallery. While he examined the paintings, he muttered about the texture, or the quality of the painting. I could only hear half of it, but it was interesting to listen too.
Sometime later I left Damien with Kini, and went to go find Styx. I wanted to ask him permission to let Damien stay for a while. Usually I wouldn't bother with asking permission, but I figured that since Styx had helped me out, I had better be nice for a while. As nice as I can be, anyway. Styx complained, but essentially said that he didn't have a problem with it. Damien would stay until he was ready to go home, or I was ready to send him home.
For the next couple of weeks, Damien, Kini, and I- and very occasionally, Styx- hung around. Usually in the library, the Great Hall, or on trips exploring the castle and the grounds surrounding it. Damien would spend the rest of his time in the gallery. Damien was only a little disconcerted by the lack of need for food, or sleep, or any of the other mortal necessities; he got over it quickly. Kini took an immediate liking to Damien- which shocked me enough that I laughed for about thirty minutes straight, and neither one of them could figure out what I was laughing about, which made me laugh even more, and on the vicious cycle of laughter went. While we went on our 'exploring trips', they would talk about all kinds of things. Art, sports, what type of girls they liked. They actually had pretty similar tastes. They were a lot alike. Although, if you said that out loud to Kini he would've have denied that he could ever be anything like a mortal. I'm going to have to help him get over that prejudice someday.
"You ready?" I asked Damien. We were in the Great Hall and I was getting ready to send Damien home. There wasn't much actual 'getting ready' to do. My power didn't require circles, spells, or rituals; I just had to concentrate and what I wanted to happen happened. Convenient really. "I don't know how much time will have passed in the mortal realms, but the Fates have a way of dropping you off where and when you are supposed to be."
"Although, how they have so much time to do everything, and set out the details of everyone's' life, I have no idea." Kini added.
Damien shot a look at Kini, but it was as sharp as the first few days he had been here. He'd adjusted pretty well, I think. Too bad he had to leave. "I guess I'm ready. This is goodbye then?"
"Not really. I'll see you around I'm sure. I've lived on Earth too long to abandon it completely. But are you sure you'll really want to have me around at all?" I knew how fickle humans could be. I didn't want him going home, deciding I was a demon, and coming at me with Holy water and cross if I decided to pop up unannounced at his house. That would just be really annoying.
"I'm sure. Visit anytime."
I nodded. "I will. You have your story down?"
"Yep. I couldn't find you, I ran into some kind of 'otherworldly creature', and it sent me home. I won't be able to come back because it banished me from the realm. You obviously weren't there. I have come to the conclusion that you were kidnapped by mortals and there is nothing we can do, but call the cops and get them on the job. I refuse to contemplate the other options." He beamed at me, apparently happy with his recitation of the story we had come up with.
I smiled back at him. "Great! We're all set then. See ya!"
"Bye Sel-" I had already started sending him home before he started to speak. He didn't get a chance to finish his sentence. Oops.
"Well?" I looked pointedly at Kini.
"He was OK, for a mortal I mean." He sniffed delicately, to emphasize his point.
We turned and headed outside. I had never really fit in anywhere until now. It was kind of funny, but here, among demons, gods and goddesses, fairies, and other immortals, I actually felt at home.