From Dark to Light
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The lone traveler finds herself being pulled from the horribly twisted reality that she had known for so long to be thrust into a completely foreign one.
It was a blustery fall afternoon. The sky loomed overhead, dark and dreary. The trees swayed with the chilly wind, setting birds angrily to flight. A cloaked figure walked through this very wood, face hidden by shadow. All animals fled before it, leaving a wake like a ripple on a pond. Out of the cloak's hood, a small dragon head, or what looked like a dragon head, emerged. It sniffed the cold air and made a small crooning noise. The figure inside the cloak snarled and shoved the head back in. “Keep quiet and out of sight Emperor,” a cold female voice hissed from the depths of the hood. The small creature hissed in argument, but complied. The figure's pace picked up as the sky darkened more with night.
A few hours later, dusk had fallen and the traveler had come upon a clearing. The small animal once again poked its sleek head out of the hood and looked about, sniffing the air. “It's too open… We need to find a more secluded place for us to make camp,” the voice said. The creature's red head disappeared once more within the dark hood as the traveler continued a drudged pace.
The trees steadily began to grow thicker together, shutting out what little light was left from the setting sun. A grand willow tree had grown in the center of the forest, its age incomprehensive. This willow tree was the very place that our traveler made camp. The tree had had a large cavern worn out underneath its roots from thousands of years of erosion.
The now almost invisible cloaked shadow lowered herself into the hole. She drew back her hood to reveal a pale, beautiful face, framed with cascading chocolate brown hair. The creature's head poked out from her hair, its tail coiled around her slender neck in a protective manor. The woman's hand searched through her side pouch with all of her belongings, digging for a match. When it found no such match, the woman lifted the pouch up and looked into its folds. The creature's head looked around the small cavern under the grand willow tree, keeping watch. “Damn it, I didn't bring matches,” the woman cursed. She let the pouch go slack at her hip and closed her eyes. The woman's mind delved deep, deep into dark reaches of unknown areas of her own mind. She started to whistle, a low soothing note, carrying to the outside. Instantly, the darkness in her mind vanished, leaving her with blood red light. It was no ordinary light, the light, if looked at closely, was a large mass of symbols of a lost language, floating lazily in seemingly nothing. This is what the woman sought with her mind. A smirk crept across her pale face. After a few seconds of looking at familiar symbols in her mind, she found the one that she was looking for. She pursed her lips and blew, a new note emitting from them. It flowed like a slow river from her mouth. The small underground cavern began to slowly illuminate. Details became revealed as the light grew to light every corner. She opened her eyes and looked around, gathering every intricate detail of her small temporary home. Her eyes flashed bright red in pleasure, and then returned to their customary red.
“Neume, you honestly are a show off. You could have easily made a small fire with some wood, but no, you had to make a right old show of things using magic. I hope you're happy with yourself because I'm not!” the small creature retorted angrily in Neume's mind. He loosened his winding tail from the woman's neck and stepped out onto her shoulder. His small body glistened in the glowing light resembled that of his distant relatives, the dragons. The creature technically didn't exist to many, but to the few that had found one of their own had called them FireLizards.
Neume shook her head and sat down, making no retort. She tucked her hair behind her ear absentmindedly and took out a dagger. The blade was pure ebony and shone with brilliance of that of a king's weapon of choice. Taking a handkerchief out of her belt, Neume began cleaning the blade, her ruby eyes watching the cloth go up and down the blade's smooth surface. “Emperor, you and I'll have a good amount of gold after this next job,” Neume said softly, her voice as cold as ice. Emperor crawled down her arm to sit in her lap to look up at his mistress's face. His golden eyes flashed as he tilted his head up to get a better view of her face.
“Child, will you ever get tired with this work? It's not exactly highly looked upon,” Emperor calmly stated, his voice echoing in Neume's head. He rested his red head on her stomach, looking up at her with sad eyes.
“I'll always do this work Emp. It's the only thing I know how to do, that I am good at,” replied Neume. Emperor's eyes flashed sadly at the thought of what she said. His tongue flickered out and in his mouth as he pondered his mistress's predicament. “After we're done with this job, we'll be filthy rich. Our employer is generously going to pay us for this easy task.” Neume paused in cleaning her weapon to think about the prospect of having a subsequent amount of money and a faint smile came across her face. She continued her unnecessary work of shining the ebony blade of her dagger. Sheathing the blade, Neume removed from the folds of her tunic a small empty bag. Emperor's eyes flashed in excitement at the sight of the bag, his tongue flickering, tasting the air.
“Do we have any fish left Neume? Any at all? Please say that you didn't eat the last of the fish,” Emperor crooned. Neume shook her head in annoyance and opened the drawstring of the small bag.
The silk bag was very beautiful and pleasing to the eye to look at. Its dark velvet fabric was decorated with images of foreign design in silver thread. This small trinket might have once been owned by an Elven maiden or perhaps it might have been an Elven lord's wedding gift to his new bride. No matter what the original purpose or ownership the bag used to have, it now belonged to Neume, and was one of her few treasures.
Neume's hand plunged into the bag, going in far further than thought physically possible. She groped around for a few seconds before pulling out her hand, a small loaf of bread clutched in it. Emperor's gaze remained in its intensity on the bag, hoping that the before mentioned fish would be the next item to come from the magical bag. Neume shook her head, smashing Emperor's hope of the succulent fish.
“No fish. Nothing but bread and butter,” calmly stated Neume. Emperor's head drooped and he laid it on Neume's thy. Neume dug in the bag once more and took out a small pack of butter and then sighed. “I could do for some meat though,” she admitted.
The two travelers feasted on the meager bread and butter that was allotted them, wishing and dreaming of more. The night came quickly upon them, reminding Neume of her own weariness. She leaned against one of the walls of the small cavern under the tree and restlessly drifted off to a light sleep. Emperor was left to keep watch, which meant to him `sleep and if anything happens, wake up.' During Neume's restless sleep, her mind revisited past memories of her horrid childhood…
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