The Mystic's Entrance The Mystic's Entrance
The next thing to do would be to get in touch with someone.
[many continuity problems here, but hey, when Time Gates are involved, who can really tell what's going on?]
How was she going to do this? And how would she explain her sudden entrance into the War, after semi-public declaration that she wouldn't get involved?
She laughed. "Aw heck, I'll worry about it when I get there!" she said aloud.
The blue ball in the corner shimmered slightly.
She shrugged. Best way, she thought.
She gestured. The ball expanded into a Time Gate. She stepped through.
She was surrounded by a watery blue tunnel, interspersed with white.
The sensation was a strange one, of being pulled along yet knowing you could control where you wanted to go. It wasn't often she traveled this way, but whenever she did, she always felt a thrill throughout her entire being. When Janus had disappeared, she had developed a fear of the Gates, but now she knew how to control them.
Her fear had been dispelled by understanding...
She shook her head to clear such thoughts.
The blue began to disappear and give way to white. A white portal lay ahead. She came out of the tunnel headfirst and popped into the light. She felt her feet touch solid ground.
She looked around the camp. It was evening, and most of the soldiers were hidden away from general view, either in their tents or huddled in small groups talking about past and present and future. But the noise they made could be heard rather easily.
One such group was near where the Gate had opened. The soldiers saw her before she saw them. They stared at the sorceress as the Gate hummed shut behind her.
When she made eye contact with them, the men rose, their hands on the hilts of their swords. She was a lady, after all, but her mysterious appearance put them on their guard.
She started at their movement. The red pendant around her neck glowed almost menacingly, responding to its owner's alarm. Before they could speak, she asked, "I would like to know where the Druidess Kaitlin and the Dragoon Jaana are."
The men frowned and glanced at each other. No one knew what to say. Was she an enemy? If so, she could have simply blasted them all away with magic. Instead, she was simply standing there, offering no trouble, and asking a polite question. One man stepped forward. "My lady," he responded in kind, "I'm afraid we shall have to escort you to our lord before you may go anywhere else in this camp."
She sighed. I *knew* I should have worked more with the Gate before entering it! she thought. If she had done so, she could probably have opened it near or even inside Kaitlin's or Jaana's tent and skipped all this. It was her impetuosity coming into play again, that same trait
that had nearly caused her complete withdrawal from the war. But she understood the soldiers' precautions. "Very well," she acquiesced. "But I assure you, I mean no harm. I merely come to offer my services to the High Lord Bacca."
The soldiers weren't that surprised to hear that she knew their lord's name. They formed a loose circle with her in the center. "This way, my lady," said the same man, and he led the way.
Even in the growing darkness, the woman stood out. Her pendant was such a bright red that it attracted the attention of others, who then noted her strange appearance. "A prisoner?" some asked. "An enemy magic-user?" others whispered. Eyebrows were raised, but not many
conjectures were raised.
The group passed by Jaana's tent. A bright ruby glow entered through the opening. Startled, the Dragoon scrambled to her feet and peeked out just in time to catch a glimpse of a purple-robed woman. Her eyes widened in happy surprise.
They stopped just outside the High Lord's tent. The spokesman turned to her. "And what name shall I give, my lady?"
She took a deep breath. If she took the next step, there might be no turning back. But even with the unresolved issues still swirling about in her mind, she was determined. She straightened up and looked the soldier in the eye.
"My name is Schala."
She turned to Sephiroth, who was propped up in bed.
Sephiroth managed a faint smile. He was still weak from his adventure at Mog's castle, and had only recently recovered full consciousness. Jaana grabbed her robe and put it on.
"I'm going to go see what's going on. I'll be back soon."
She rushed out of the tent and began making her way to Bacca's tent.
She had neglected to put on shoes, and her bare feet were soon covered in mud. She ran up to Bacca's tent. The guard in front looked at her strangely. "I must be quite a sight," she thought to herself, "standing here in my nightgown with bare, muddy feet." She tried to put on a serious face.
"Did the sorceress come here?"
"Yes!" The guard was visibly taken aback. "She's in with him right now."
"Well, then.....let me pass!"
The guard stood aside as Jaana pushed her way into the tent. Bacca was sitting at his desk, Schala in front of him. Jaana grinned.
"You'd better watch out for this one, Bacca. She could be trouble....."
Schala turned, cautiously. Her posture relaxed as she made eye contact with Jaana. She smiled, thoughtfully.
"I see you've made your choice."
"Do you know this woman, Jaana?" Bacca interjected.
"Bacca, this is Schala......"
Sky H Ainsworth
"I think I have heard of you before," said Bacca, taking in the woman's appearance. "But only in what I have heard others whisper. Please, have a seat and enjoy some refreshments. I would like you to tell me anything you can about yourself."
HEY!! Is the Crystal Peak thing going on without me or what? =( Well, I decided to skip whatever it is Bacca actually says to me...I guess it'll probably be something like a major interrogation and then what my duties will be after he reluctantly decides to accept my help...anyway. =)
[some time has passed]
Schala tried to listen to what Bacca was telling her, but she was distracted by a sharp stab of pain. She reeled forward slightly.
Bacca saw the movement and half rose. "Are you okay?" he asked.
She sat up. "Yes, I'm fine," she replied. "Please continue." Bacca frowned slightly, but he sat down and began talking again.
But she wasn't okay. The pain was a telepathic cry for help that had shocked her senses, so strong it had jerked her whole body when it hit her.
The interview passed by in a daze. Only when Jaana entered the tent did Schala come back to herself. She smiled as the Dragoon re-introduced her to Bacca.
The High Lord stood up. "Well," he said slowly, "I'm afraid we have no extra provisions, and seeing that you and Jaana know each other, you will share a tent with her."
Jaana blinked. "Oh," she said, confused, "Sephiroth's already there...but I think Kaitlin has room, or even Lady Paladin. I can lead you there."
Bacca glanced at Jaana, covered with mud. A small grin played across his face as he said, "Very well." He turned to the Mystic. "I welcome you and any help you can give."
The conversation was over, but Schala could feel the High Lord's eyes boring into her back as she left. She knew she was still a suspicious character despite any assurances. The fact that she knew Jaana and Kaitlin was probably a greater cause of mistrust, seeing as the High Lord didn't trust *them* much either. Schala shook her head. I *really* manage to mess myself up sometimes, she thought.
When they left Bacca's presence, Schala asked, "Could you take me to Lady's tent first?"
Jaana was slightly surprised, but offered no argument. They stopped after a few minutes. "Here it is," the Dragoon said, "but I'm pretty sure she's asleep."
"I won't be long," Schala said softly. She lifted the flap and was about to go in, but then she turned to her friend. "On second thought, point the way to Kaitlin's and I'll go there after. I don't want to keep you up."
The other woman raised her eyebrows, but again did not argue. If there was one thing she learned, it was impossible to probe the depths of anyone's knowledge -- and Schala had changed a great deal since they'd last seen each other. Jaana herself had a secret, too, so she understood how important it was to keep things until the time was right. She pointed. "We're not far from here," Jaana said. "Kaitlin's is right next to mine."
Schala nodded. "Okay," she said. "And...thank you." The Mystic disappeared into Lady's tent. Jaana stood there for a few moments, then walked into her own.
She slipped the pendant under her robe to muffle the light it gave off. She saw Lady laying there asleep. But it was a restless sleep, and her face was not relaxed. Schala felt for her; even the night, when one was supposed to be at peace and could escape the harsh daylight adventures, was no comfort to the healer.
Kneeling beside the woman, Schala placed a hand on Lady's forehead. It was slightly warm. Then she gently touched her cheek, which was colder. She wished she knew what the healer was suffering from. She once again touched the sleeping woman's forehead, and concentrated.
Strange images flowed through her mind, disjointed ones of happy walks with Bacca mixed with the horrors of his death. But Schala didn't want to probe too deeply. She slowly brought herself out of her trance and back to reality.
It was the emotion that had always caused problems: Love. She sorely wished she could help Lady, for the healer had been the one who had shown her love again, who had made her laugh even when the darkness had surrounded her.
So much pain, so much discontent...Schala folded her hands on her lap, reflecting.
Where would the War lead? That was what she had asked herself not too long ago. She still had no answers to that question, but there was one thing she hoped would result: Happiness for all.
Schala smiled gently down at the sleeping healer. "Peace will come, one way or another," she whispered. "I know you will be there to see it. Do not let your inner turmoil destroy you, as I almost let it destroy me. You will make it through."
She silently got up and left the tent.