The Dawn of a New Era The Dawn of a New Era
High above, on the cliffs overlooking the waterfalls, Kaitlin stood with her face to the wind, clutching the obsidian amulet as the shamans completed the final rites of passage.
"Goodbye Dark Lord....." she whispered.
Jaana took a step forward and placed her hand on Kaitlin's shoulder.
"Kaitlin, it's time."
"You're right. It is time........I'm sorry."
Sephiroth looked at Kaitlin and smiled, "We *will* fight together again."
Kaitlin returned the smile, "Yes, we will......" She paused for one last moment, watching the shamans file away from the burial site. The ritual fire still burned brightly, its smoke guiding the way for the Dark Lord.
Kaitlin turned to face Jaana and Sephiroth.
"We're very close, you know," Kaitlin said.
Jaana pointed westward, into the thick woods behind them, "It's that way, about three quarters of a kilometer."
Kaitlin nodded "Yes......we must hurry......time is short"
The three started into the woods. Around them, forest creatures went about their nightlife, not knowing why they were driven to avoid the clearing ahead. The orcs in the area felt a strange presence, as if there was something new in the woods that night, something that was strangely familiar, yet terrifyingly different. The three pressed on.
Sephiroth stopped, "Look.......ahead."
The woods ahead of them were illuminated with a bright yellow light. A large bonfire had been lit in the middle of a very large, triangular shaped clearing. Kaitlin unconsciously made a ceremonial gesture with her hands.
"It's just as we've been shown." Jaana said under her breath.
" 'The way for them shall be cleared......' " Kaitlin quoted under her breath.
" .....and the night that appears to be the twilight of the world, shall be its dawn'," Jaana finished.
Kaitlin started into the clearing. "Come."
Jaana and Sephiroth followed Kaitlin into the clearing. Kaitlin stood in front of the fire as its flames blazed into the sky. She lifted her staff to the sky and chanted. Jaana knelt on the other side of the flame, removed three identical bottles, corked and sealed with wax, from her bag and lined them up on the ground in front of her. She opened a bag of herbs and sprinkled each of the bottles, repeating the same phrase each time: "N'klah ahret mihtorahn." Kaitlin took her staff and began to trace a triangle in the ground around the fire, each point falling midway between two points of the clearing. Sephiroth followed Kaitlin, placing an small crystal at each point, while Jaana followed him, placing one of the three bottles in front of the crystal. The three paused for a moment, looking into each others' eyes, wondering if it was too late to go back, knowing that it was. They broke, and each took a place at one of the points of the triangle. They knelt, facing the fire and picked up the bottle in front of them. The bottles were uncorked, and the words chanted in unison, "Ayanna bah n'leh richtoran": "The way will be opened." Each drank the contents of the bottle, its bitter taste shocking their senses into a heightened state. They closed their eyes as the mixture began to modify their body chemistry. Kaitlin opened her eyes, and looked at the crystal on the ground in front of her. It began to glow with a purple light and slowly began to lift off the ground. Sephiroth opened his eyes and peered into the crystal floating in front of him. It glowed a faint green. "The lifestream.....it's like the lifestream......but different, somehow," he thought. He glanced over at Jaana, who remained still, eyes shut. Her crystal had begun to glow bright blue, and was hovering at the same level as Kaitlin's and Sephiroth's. Her eyes suddenly opened. They glowed faintly, the color matching that of her crystal. He looked at Kaitlin, who was deep in concentration. Her eyes glowed purple. Suddenly, he felt a surge of energy well within him. He faintly heard Jaana begin chanting, and Kaitlin join her. It took him a few moments to realize that he, too, had joined in the chant. He found himself uttering strange, unintelligible sounds, yet he understood everything. He knew exactly what he was saying, and exactly what effect his words were having on the ritual. The bonfire began to move in motion with the chanting. The crystals began to emit a strange sound. The night sky became black, then, a figure emerged from the fire. The three stopped chanting, and the crystals suddenly froze in midair. The figure approached Jaana.
"Rise," it said.
"Thou hast brought them here, as I commanded"
Jaana nodded, afraid to speak.
"I am pleased with thy efforts." It turned to Kaitlin and Sephiroth "And thine as well. Thou hast served valiantly. The time has come. The Dark Lord is one of us now, and we no longer have a link to thy world. It is time for thou to serve thy people. If thou art successful, thy rewards shall be great. If not, thy world shall fall into chaos..."
Kaitlin rose to her feet and addressed the figure, "What would you have us do?"
"The forces which are in conflict now are neither good nor evil. They are merely different sides of the same force. They must be resolved."
Jaana found her voice, "How can they be resolved? There is no chance for peace."
"The way has yet to be determined. Thou shalt find it through thine own ways."
Sephiroth rose, "We shall do your will."
"Thou wilt not be alone.....thou must pay attention to those of thy acquaintance that would help thee, for thou cannot succeed without them. The remaining Lizars will rally around thee.....an injured healer will rise and be more powerful than before.....a young warrior will prove himself a great man.....an animal from the stars will be of great value with his army of identical men.....a man of technology will prove himself invaluable.......an orkan leader will secure the bond of friendship between his people and thine.......thou wilt not lack assistance."
"We understand," Jaana said with conviction.
"To help thee, I will grant unto thee increased powers." The being held up his hand. A bright light flashed. "If thou art successful, you will be rewarded well. Remember this." The being turned toward the fire, then, in an instant, both the being and the fire vanished. The three were left alone, in the clearing........