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Black emptiness extends in every direction. Cold, stale air fills the abyss and wraps around my upper body. Slightly cold liquid covers my feet up to my ankles. The combination sends cold shivers into my body through my limbs. Where am I and why’s it so cold in here? I frantically look around for any light but do not find any. There’s got to be something-
Splash. The sound of someone stepping through water echoes throughout the dark void. Where? I spin around looking for the origin of the sound. Splash. There it is again, but where? Splash. The footsteps grow steadily louder as if someone is approaching.
“Hello!” I holler, “Is anyone there?”
Splash. Splash. The steps continue for a moment but suddenly stop. I examine the nothingness surrounding me, searching for the source of the steps. Wait, is that? A small light appears in the distance. Finally, a way out of here. Splash. I take a step forward and feel a heaviness on my feet as I try to move. Why’s there so much water here? Steadily, I fight through the heavy liquid.
What is that? I tilt my head as something dark within the light becomes more visible. A person? A figure of a tall person with a well-built body is standing lifelessly in the middle of an archway filled with light. What are they- Instantly, I stop as I notice that the person is missing their left leg.
“Revus…” I mutter as a shiver crawls up my spine, “W-where are we?” I wrap my arms around one another and try to warm myself as I glance around the room. Splash. I continue toward him, returning my focus to the dark silhouette standing within the light. Splash. “Why are you just standing there?”
“Why’d you do it?” Revus answers hoarsely.
“What do you mean?”
“Why couldn’t you just wait for me to return?” His grating words reverberate through the darkness.
“Revus, I-I don’t understand?” I ask, my heart rate increasing slightly.
“This wouldn’t have happened to me,” he states, his tone growing louder while his voice fills with anger, “It’s your fault! I lost my leg because of you!
“No,” I whisper, shaking my head as I stop moving, “No, I… I didn’t mean-”
Splash. Revus takes a step toward me, his single leg trudging through the rough water. “If you weren’t born, I wouldn’t have to go through this!”
“No, that’s not true… you said…”
“Did I ever say I like getting hurt?” Revus argues, his haphazard walking is only separated by flying to compensate for his missing leg. Splash. “You think I like being like this?”
“No!” I cry, tears streaming down my face, “I’m sorry… I…” Splash. Revus turns around and starts heading back toward the light filled archway. “Where are you going?” He remains silent as he continues walking forward. Splash. “Revus!” I start running after him. Splash, splash, splash. My legs are bogged down by the thick mire beneath me.
“It’s no wonder you were abandoned,” Revus remarks coldly, “Me… and your family, we’re all better off without you.”
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“No,” I shout. Splash, splash. I chase after him. “You don’t mean that. You… Revus wait!” Splash. Splash. Splash. Gradually, he gets further away from me. “Please, Revus… don’t go! I’ll change, I’ll-”
Splash. He stops in front of the white doorway and turns around. “Goodbye.”
Revus turns back around, walks through the door, and closes it. Slowly, the light diminishes, until it completely disappears.
“Revus!” I scream. Splash. The water ripples as I force my way through it. “Revus! Don’t leave me!” Splash. Splash. Splash. I walk on for a while, but steadily my steps become heavy, until I stop. Splash. I drop to my knees and the water embraces my legs. The cold once again creeps into my body. He’s gone… “Revus…” Drip. Tears fall from my nose and merge with the water-filled floor.
I cry on the ground for a bit until I hear a low, pained voice. Revus? I glance around, wiping my eyes. “Where are you?” As I scan the darkness, a dim light appears overhead, faintly illuminating this dreary abyss. Near the sole light, two giants are standing opposite one another, but their figures are too dark to clearly make out. Not good. I need to run, but I have to find Revus.
“Evetta…” Revus utters breathlessly, “Help…”
“Revus,” I call out, searching for him, “Where are y-” I freeze as my gaze lands upon one of the giant’s hands. Firmly within its grasp, I can make out a tiny figure. “Revus!”
The giant holding Revus turns away from the second one. He reaches an arm out, grabs what looks like a jar, and places Revus inside. No… The man puts a lid on the jar and places it back where he grabbed it. I see several other jars resting on a shelf alongside it. Each jar on the shelf is filled with liquid and a single, floating object. He should be in Svelta… On the far left is the jar with Revus and, going right, the jars contain, a tiny leg, a pair of wings, a human-like eye, and a human-like ear. Adjacent to the shelf is the left arm of a human, strapped to the wall. So why’s he here?
“Doctor Lente,” a gruff voice states, “What do you want to do with the other one?” I look between the two giants and examine them. If that’s Mister Lente… then who’s that?
Mister Lente turns around and glances down at me. “Why of course.” He pulls down his mask and smiles, “We’ll capture this one too.”
I see the second giant smile widely, revealing rotting, yellow teeth. No… “I won’t let you get away this time,” the giant states. Bwoosh. He takes a step forward and waves of water erupt from his foot. No… This isn’t real.
I turn around and quickly begin to run away. Splash. Splash. Splash. Bwoosh.
“Evetta!” Revus’ voice echoes, “Are you going to abandon me?”
That’s not Revus. Splash. Splash. I cry as I run away from the giant. None of this is real. Bwoosh. Wake up! Wake up already! Splash. Splash. Splash.
“I thought you were going to change,” Revus states, “I thought you weren’t going to leave me alone.”
I close my eyes and clamp my hands over my ears. Shut up! This isn’t real. None of this is- BWOOSH. A giant step lands directly behind me and a large wave carries me away. Please wake up. I land on the ground, drenched in the icy water. Opening my eyes, my heart plummets into my gut as I see a giant foot above me, steadily growing larger. Wake up. Wake up! Wake- Bwoosh.
“Ah!” I bolt upright as I feel cold sweat run down my body. “Huff, huff…” I breathe erratically, glancing around the room. A dark, rocky cavern surrounds me, the only source of light being the moonlight filtering in from the entrance. A cold wind trickles into the cave. Why’s the door open? I go to stand up but realize there is something warm rubbing against my leg. I look down and see Revus.
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“Ah!” I silently scream as I jump away from him. Why am I sleeping next to Revus? I tilt my head and glare at him through the darkness. Wait, is he actually asleep? I crawl toward him and look at his sleeping form. He is laying on his back with his legs extended straight out, his arms resting on his stomach. Isn’t this the first time I’ve seen him sleeping? I tilt my head. He really does sleep… I wave my hand over his face. No response. I stick my tongue out at him. Nothing huh? Well, if he’s tired enough to not wake up before me then he must be really tired.
I stand up, grab my blanket, wrap it around me, and walk toward the cave entrance. As I walk through it, I glance back at Revus. I guess it’s not surprising. He’s been carrying me non-stop for the last two days. “Me… and your family, we’re all better off without you.” Revus’ statement from my dream echoes in my head. I look away from him and out at the dark, snow-covered landscape. The lifeless trees are barren, with a thick layer of ice and snow coating them. The ground is layered with a dim yellow as the moonlight reaches the land. I know it was a dream but… it might be true. Maybe they would be better off without me…
A sharp wind penetrates my blanket and the cold bites my legs and arms. “Tsss,” I bitterly shiver. It’s so cold… It would’ve been nice to get out of the mountains before winter but… I sigh. Oh well, at least we found somewhere to stay. I adjust my blanket to minimize the amount of cold that sneaks past it. I look up at the fragmented, night sky hidden behind the sporadic branches of the tree canopy. I miss flying…
“Evetta, what are you doing awake?” Faraine asks quietly.
“Ah,” I squeal, almost falling over as I frighteningly spin to my right. I take a deep breath and exhale. “Faraine, I didn’t know you were awake.” Maybe I’ll get to talk to her a bit today.
“Yeah…” she murmurs, “I… was thinking about something.”
“Do you want to talk about it?” I ask.
Faraine shakes her head, “No, that’s okay.” Guess she’s still trying to avoid me. “What about you? Shouldn’t you be sleeping?”
“Well…” I anxiously look away from her, “I… had a nightmare.”
“I see…” Faraine mutters and, after a moment of silence, continues, “Should we wake up Revus?”
“No!” I blurt immediately, looking up at her charming face. I feel my face flush at my sudden outburst, “No, I don’t want to wake him… I don’t think he gets enough sleep so…”
“Pfft,” Faraine chuckles, “Okay, in that case…” she pauses, “Do you… want me to keep you company?” She will?
I tilt my head slightly, “Aren’t you tired though?”
Faraine closes her eyes and flatly smiles, “Yeah, but… Nevermind.” She opens her eyes and walks toward the entrance, “If you don’t want company, I’ll be heading inside.”
As she passes by me, I grab her arm and sheepishly ask, “Um… Yeah… Could you…keep me company?”
Faraine looks from the cave to me, and states, “Sure.” I release my hold on her and we walk to the spot where she was a moment ago. With nowhere else to sit, we do so on the cold, rocky ground. Without looking at me, Faraine asks, “So, what happened in your nightmare?”
“Mmmm,” I hesitantly groan as I look down at the ground, “Uh…”
“Do you want me to guess?”
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“No,” I shake my head, “It was about Revus and the enōōfen.”
“Did something happen to Revus in your dream?”
“Sort of… He blamed me for getting hurt and said that everyone would be better off without me,” I mope. I turn to look up at Faraine who, even sitting down, is still quite a bit taller than me, and ask, “Do you think-”
“No,” Faraine resolutely states, looking at me.
I furrow my brow, my mouth agape, “I didn’t even finish asking.”
“There are a lot of people that care about you in Folian,” Faraine remarks, then mutters almost too quietly for me to hear, “Unlike me.” I tilt my head and squint my eyes. Do people at Folian not like her?
“You just said-”
“What about the enōōfen?” Faraine interrupts.
“Your dream,” Faraine clarifies, “You said it was about the enōōfen too.”
“Oh… right.” I’ll ask her in a bit. “Um… they were,” I look down at the ground, and tightly grip my arms, my fingers digging into my skin slightly, “One was the man who captured me and tore off my wings.”
“Was he trying to capture you again?”
“Yeah, but…” I hesitate and close my eyes, “I think he… stepped on me…” Silence follows my words. Why isn’t she saying anything? I open my right eye and peek at Faraine. She is sitting there smiling. “Is that weird?”
“Pfft,” Faraine laughs, “No, it’s actually the opposite.”
“What do you mean?” I ask, turning to face her.
“Since most of us are smaller than we were in our previous lives,” Faraine explains, “A lot of fairies have similar dreams about being attacked by enōōfen. Especially after encountering them.”
“Is that so?” I mutter, feeling a bit of anxiety leave my body.
“So you were just being chased in your dream?”
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I shake my head, “No. There was also a man from my previous life who…” I look down and stop talking.
“Evetta?” Faraine calls, leaning forward to try and look at me.
“He took my…” I choke on my words.
“If it’s painful then-”
“I want to tell you…”
Faraine sighs defeatedly, “I’d prefer not to-”
“He took an eye, an ear, and an arm,” I resolutely state, my face still looking down at the ground.
“In your dream?” Faraine inquires.
“No,” I shake my head, “In the past. In my dream, he had Revus and…” I take a deep breath, “As Revus was asking for help, I ran away. I left him and he was yelling at me for abandoning him.”
“I don’t think Revus would get mad at you for that,” Faraine mutters.
“Huh?” I look up at Faraine who is sitting straight up.
“From what I’ve seen,” she continues looking out at the sky, “I believe he’d prefer you to abandon him if it meant keeping you safe.”
“If you don’t like it,” Faraine interjects, looking down at me, her red eyes glowing faintly, “Then get stronger.” I stop and stare at her, my mind going blank from her statement. Stronger? But how? “Sorry,” she apologizes, “That’s what someone told me a while back.”
“Is it that simple?” I question sullenly.
“Heh,” Faraine chuckles, “Honestly, I’m not sure. I think she meant that if you’re not satisfied then work harder or… something like that.”
I stare up at her smiling face. Why does she seem so sad even though she’s smiling? She glances down at me and I immediately look away from her. I want to ask her about who she’s talking about but… An awkward silence fills the area as the wind softly howls.
“Brr…” I shiver, huddling tightly under my blanket.
“Cold?” Faraine asks.
“Yeah,” I answer, noticing that she does not have a jacket or blanket, “I… get cold easily?”
“Why are you answering with a question?”
“Because Revus said that’s all it was but…” I hesitate, “It feels like something else.”
“Hmm…” Faraine ponders for a moment, “I’m not sure I understand, but if you’re cold, I can heat up your blanket if you’d like.”
“Please do,” I blurt, once again feeling my face heat up. “Sorry… I got a little excited there,” I state while rubbing the back of my neck.
“It’s okay, I usually heat up my own clothes too,” Faraine smiles stiffly as she places a hand on my blanket. A moment later, I feel warmth begin to seep into it, gradually warming my chilled body.
“Haaa,” I exhale as Faraine pulls her hand away. I look up at her and smile wholeheartedly, “Sleeps. It feels a lot better now.”
Faraine stares at me for a moment before suddenly turning to look away from me. “You’re… welcome.”
My smile shifts to a frown as I tilt my head. Why’s she being like that? Maybe she really… I look away from her and out at the sky, watching as thick clouds begin to veil the moons. “Faraine, why have you been avoiding me the last couple of days?”
“Avoiding you?” she questions, “I haven’t been-”
“Whenever I’d go to talk to you, you’d try to end the conversation quickly,” I state, “or you’d say you’re tired and go to sleep.”
“Uh…” she hesitates, “Well, it’s just…”
“Please be honest with me,” I interrupt, “Do I bother you?”
“Mmmmm,” she groans, “No… I just… haven’t figured out how to act around you.”
I look at her while raising an eyebrow, “Couldn’t you just act normally around me?”
“Well… I don’t think it’s that simple,” Faraine murmurs.
Faraine sighs heavily and scratches her head, “I wish Revus would’ve told you the rest the other night…”
“What else hasn’t he told me?”
“Well…” she pauses for a bit, “Evetta, you’re-”
“That’s enough Faraine,” Revus declares, his voice echoing from inside the cave. I turn toward the entrance and, as he walks out, he continues, “I’ll tell her.”
Tell me? “You’re still keeping things from me?” I angrily ask.
“Sorry, I should’ve told you the other night,” Revus apologizes, “but I didn’t think there was a good opportunity with how our conversation was going.”
“So what is it this time?” I scoff, “What else are you hiding from me?”
“I’ll tell you,” Revus replies, “but let’s head inside first.” He looks out at the night sky and remarks, “It looks like it’s going to snow soon so, shall we?” He motions back toward the entrance with his hands.
I look up at the large clouds that are rolling in and, still filling chilly from underneath my blanket, snap, “Fine.” I get up and, as I walk by Revus, glare up at him. I return to our shelter, with Faraine and Revus following close behind me. I sit down at a stone seat and table that Revus created earlier that day, adjust my blanket, and, once the other two are seated, bark, “What’s so wrong with me that Faraine has to act differently around me?”
“I told you nothing’s wrong with you,” Revus emphasizes, “and it’s not something terrible.”
“Then what is it?”
Revus casually says, “You’re kind of…” He looks at Faraine briefly, then back at me, “A princess.”
I freeze, close my eyes, and tilt my head slightly. “I’m… a what?”
“Your mom, Lady Vestele, is the current monarch of the fairies,” Revus states, “And you, as the monarch’s daughter, are akin to being a princess.”
“Huh?” I open my eyes, and stare at Revus’ firm posture. He… doesn’t seem to be lying, but… I turn to Faraine and see her lock eyes with me. “Faraine, is he…” I murmur as I point at Revus.
“Mhm,” Faraine hums as she nods.
“Wait, wait,” I declare, putting my hands up, “So, my… mom, isn’t just someone important, but is like, miss-important?”
“Sort of,” Revus answers, “But I think you might be misunderstanding things.”
“Oh, how so?” I inquire.
“The monarch…” Revus goes silent, “You could think of her more as a figurehead with little ruling power.”
“But isn’t she like a queen?”
“Yes, but the fairy monarch is a figurehead, or a symbol if you will,” Revus explains, “The ones that make all the decisions are the matriarchs and patriarchs of each clan.”
I maintain my focus on Revus, blink a few times, and tilt my head. “Could you…”
Revus sighs, “There are thirteen clans, each with a male and female leader. The matriarchs, patriarchs, and the monarch form a type of council, and they, together, make all the decisions for Āāthel.”
“Um…” I fidget, “What was that again?”
Revus places his left palm over his face and frustratingly sighs, “We’ve gone over this so many times already, how do you not-”
“I’m sorry,” I interrupt, “It’s not easy to focus all the time during every lesson.”
Revus sighs again, “Fine.” He lowers his hand, and continues, “Āāthel, the country of fairies, is our home within the spectral realm.”
“Ah right, I remember now,” I blurt, “That’s where Elrora is right.”
“Yeah,” Revus flatly answers, “At least you remember the capital.” He continues muttering under his breath, “Even though I had to remind you.”
“Hmf,” I turn away from him, closing my eyes, and crossing my arms beneath my blanket. Jerk. I remembered perfectly fine without your help.
“I think we’re getting off topic,” Faraine comments. I open my right eye and peek at Faraine who is looking at Revus, “Could you explain the rest to her now?”
Revus sighs, “Right… Onto, how Faraine’s been acting around you.”
I face him, opening my eyes, but still have my arms crossed. “Isn’t it because I’m a princess?” Never thought I’d say that… I direct my eyes to Faraine.
Faraine shakes her head, “No.”
“Before that, we should clarify more about the clans,” Revus claims.
“Because…” Revus pauses, “Just listen.”
“Okay, if you say so…”
“Fairies will eventually partake in Sōōl Firje, a type of ritual to imbue your soul with a specific element,” Revus explains, “Once a fairy has undergone Sōōl Firje, their wings will change, aligning with a corresponding clan.”
I tilt my head slightly.
“Focus, I don’t want to explain this again,” Revus hisses.
“Right, Soul Firg is a ritual to pick a clan,” I reply.
“Something like that,” Revus sighs, “Anyway, twelve of the clans correlate with the twelve elements while the thirteenth clan performs a more arduous ritual, Sōōl Firjis. If a fairy is successful, they imbue their soul with all twelve elements and become a skryver.”
“Okay, I think I’m following,” I mutter, “but what does this have to do with Faraine?” I ask, looking at her.
“You’re expected to become a skryver,” Revus states, “Just as most white fairies do.”
So is it because I’m supposed to be a skriver that she’s acting weird? “I’m still not seeing the connection.”
“Would you be patient,” Revus barks, “I’m getting there.”
Revus coughs, “Anyway… Skyvers obtain a unique axiom that allows them to make a connection between their soul and the soul of other fairies.”
I stare at Revus, “And this is why Faraine’s been avoiding me?”
“Yes,” Faraine answers, glumly looking down at the table in front of us.
“Is this connection important?”
“Incredibly,” Faraine utters, “a fairy who makes a connection with a skryver becomes a page.”
I look from Faraine to Revus, but before I can say anything Revus elaborates, “Pages are like… nobility that directly serve their skryver.”
“Influence over others, a better standard of living, and an increase in their sōōl,” Faraine adds, “For a lot of fairies, becoming a page is like a dream come true.”
“And… are you a page?” I ask, looking at Faraine.
She shakes her head, “No, I… wasn’t picked.”
I tilt my head and raise an eyebrow. If she’s not a page then… “What’s the problem then?”
Revus exaggeratedly sighs, “I’m not sure if this is because you’re you, or because you haven’t been around enough people…”
“Was that necessary?”
“If I associate with you,” Faraine states, “then to others… it might look like I’m trying to get close to you with the intention of becoming your page, even after I got rejected.”
“Do you want to become my page?” I curiously ask.
“Evetta!” Revus roars, standing up from his chair and slamming his hands on the table, “You-
“Revus,” I snap back, interrupting him with a glare, “I want to hear her answer.” Revus grumbles and reluctantly sits back down. I look from him to Faraine.
“I…” Faraine hesitates, “I don’t know…”
“Well, I’m not sure I understand this whole skriver, page stuff,” I state, “but from how you two are acting, I’m guessing it’s pretty important.”
“It’s more than important,” Revus growls, “It affects the rest of your life.”
“Right…” I comment, “So, instead of worrying about that, can we try to be friends?”
“Friends?” Faraine mutters.
“Yeah…” I say, fidgeting with my blanket as my face heats up. I look at Revus and continue, “As much as I’m glad to have Revus around, he’s more like… my guardian? And in my past, I never had any friends so…” I pause for a moment, feeling my body get warmer, “I’d really like it if we could be friends.”
“Friends… I… I don’t know about that.”
“Please,” I blurt.
“Evetta,” Revus calls out, “Becoming friends is the first step toward becoming a page.” He continues, “She’s been limiting her interaction with you to not get too connected.”
“Then… Should a skriver be lonely until they find their pages?”
“For Aeth’s sake… You don’t want others to think you’re weird,” Revus states. He nods toward Faraine, “She doesn’t want people to think she’s so desperate to become a page that she’ll go find a different skryver after being rejected.”
I open my mouth, but say nothing, slowly lowering my gaze. “I’m sorry…”
Faraine replies, “It’s-”
“But I don’t care if that’s what other people think,” I exclaim, “I want to be friends with her.”
“Evetta you’re being-”
“Selfish?” I cut in, “I told you before, I want to be more selfish in this life,” I smile at Revus. “Besides, you told me the other night to just do what I want.”
“Well, I want to be friends with Faraine,” I declare looking at Faraine. I shift my focus to Revus, “And I want you to tell me if you want something.”
They both stare at me dumbfoundedly. Revus says, “Don’t think you can act like a spoiled princess now that you know about it.”
“I’m not,” I argue, “Faraine said so earlier, if you’re not satisfied, then work harder.”
“Pfft,” Faraine laughs.
Immediately, Revus snaps his gaze at Faraine and glares at her. She silently purses her lips and looks away from him.
“I’m being serious, Revus. I want to make friends, and aside from you, Faraine’s the first fairy that I’ve met, and…” I remark, “Ever since I got captured, she’s been helping me, so I want her to be my first friend.”
Revus places his left hand over his face again and sighs, “Fine, if that’s what you want, I won’t interfere,” he reluctantly states, “but, whether she agrees is a different matter.”
We both look at Faraine. “I… Like I said, I don’t know.”
“Please,” I lean forward and plead as innocently as possible.
Faraine leans back slightly, “Uh… well…” she looks away, then back at me, and sighs, “I’ll think about it.”
I smile widely, “Thanks.” I already got her to go from I don’t know to I’ll think about it. I sit back in my chair, and look over at Revus, “Also, I was being serious about what I told you too.”
“If you want something, then I want you to tell me,” I affirm, “because I want you to pursue your wants and desires.”
He looks away from me and, as he scratches the back of his head, says, “I’ll… keep that in mind.”
I contentedly smirk, “Good.”