The High Queen Sorceress (complete)
Author: jessicaw

Chapter 15
chapter 15

In the dark and the quiet, nothing existed. It was completely black. She couldn’t feel anyone or anything. She blinked in the blackness, feeling her eyelids meet. She opened her eyes but there was still nothing. She held her hand in front of her face and concentrated on looking at it. She couldn’t even see a shadow. She smiled to herself and let out a long, satisfied breath. Finally, she had become invisible.     

Something backed into her and she stumbled back several steps. “Ow!” She said in surprise. “Keara? Is that you?” Brine’s voice floated through the blackness like something out of a dream. Disappointment flooded through her. She wasn’t invisible after all. “Yes” She said in a dejected voice. “Where are you?” “I don’t know.” Brine’s voice floated back to her. “Where are you?” She frowned in the darkness at the question. “I’m right here.” She said. It was the only response she could think of.  The world went quite again for several seconds. She felt something brush her arm and let out a small scream. 

“Sorry!” Came Brine’s voice, I was just looking for your hand. I can’t see a thing. Keara relaxed and held out her hand, searching for Brine. “Where are we?” she asked as their hands linked together. “I don’t know.” Said Brine. “Have you seen my father, or his cow?” Keara shook her head, then, realizing that Brine couldn’t see her, added “No.”

Brine looked around at the blackness, trying to make out anything. There was nothing around them. He began to take several small, slow steps forward, dragging Keara along behind him.                                      

They were walking through empty space. There was no dirt, no rocks, no trees or bushes. It was black everywhere. The sky, the ground, the air, everything was black. It was almost as if they had walked off the edge of the world.

Brine tripped and Keara ran face first into his back. “Sorry!” Brine called out, hopping on one foot as the other smarted. He still held Keara’s hand in his and it bobbed up and down with his movements. “What is it?” She asked as her arm rattled up and down with his movements, not entirely sure she wanted to hear the answer. “I don’t know, I tripped.” Said Brine.                                                               

Keara shuddered. She didn’t think she liked this place. She looked around, but she still couldn’t make anything out. “How do we get out of here?” she asked. “I don’t know.” Said Brine, lifting his leg as he took a cautious step. He cleared it and pulled Keara forward. “Watch your step.” He warned. She took a giant step over the area she hoped he was talking about. They continued in this fashion for several minutes; darkness enveloping every last drop of their beings.                                                             

Up above them in the distance, they could see a faint white light. Brine stopped walking to look at it but Keara kept walking, to fixated on the light to realize Brine had stopped again. She smacked into him for a second time. “Ow!” She insisted, rubbing her head. Brine turned to her and could just make out her silhouette in the dim glow. “What do you think it is?” He asked her, ignoring her pain fueled protest. “It looks like a star.” She replied, taking in a deep breath and slowly letting out her frustration.        

She took the lead and continued walking, pulling Brine behind her. Soon another small, white light appeared, this time to their left. She looked down at the ground as thin, white transparent lines formed beneath her feet, extending out in front of them and climbing into the air around them..                  

The further they walked, the more the small white shapes appeared above and around them. Soon, other colors began to appear too. Dim yellows, pale oranges and soft reds added themselves to the ever going masses. The thin, white transparent lines twinkled in the glow of the stars Underneath the rope like structure, more of the colorful orbs twinkled. They were completely surrounded by them.                      

Up ahead, Keara could just make out a shadow blocking some of the white lines from view. She fell back behind Brine, clinging to his arm for protection. He brought her protectively to his body as they approached the shadow.

“Moooo”. Keara breathed a sigh of relief; letting go of Brine’s arm and allowing her fingers to slip back into his palm. The closer they got to the cow, the lighter it became. By the time they reached her, they could make out the white and black spots on her back and the shine of her pupils. Gorden was standing with the cow, leaning up against the white lines.    

“Father?” Brine questioned as they approached. “Brine? Is that you?” Gorden stood up as Brine and Keara reached him. “Where are we?” He asked. “We don’t know.”           

“What is this thing we are standing on?” Brine asked. Gorden turned to the white lines and ran his finger down their smooth texture. They rippled with his touch. “I think it’s some sort of a bridge, but I don’t understand. It isn’t any type of rope I’ve ever seen. We can walk on it just fine, but it moves with us, as if it’s not really there.” Keara and Brine both reached out and stroked the fibers of the bridge. They danced and wiggled with their touch. It was clear that they definitely were not solid. 

Keara looked up at the lights in the sky. There were two dots close together. They were about the same size, but one was blue and the other a greenish color. She looked around, turning slowly as she thought. Something went streaming across the sky, disappearing from view.

“I think that was a shooting star.” She said, pointing at where it had been. “Gorden scratched his chin for a moment as he watched the area. “It’s almost like we are surrounded by the night sky.” He said at last. He froze for a second, searching.         

“Has anyone seen the cow?” He asked. The three of them looked around, but there was no sign of the cow. “Cow?” Gorden called into the blackness. In the distance, a faint moo could be heard. “I don’t know what is with that cow, but she is very eager to keep going.” Gorden said. “We had best go after her.”

The three of them followed the strange white lines, making their way slowly across the bridge. Around them, more and more stars materialized, growing closer and closer together. Here and there, two dots of the same or different colors and same size were grouped. The three of them strolled along the path, awestruck at the things around them. The cow trotted ahead, occasionally letting out a happy moo.

They walked for what felt to be a good hour or two before the stars started to diminish. After a few minutes, the sky was completely black again. The white lines of the strange bridge seemed to fade into the blackness. The three of them joined hands and walked blindly through the night, listening for the occasional moo of the cow. For some reason, she seemed to know where she was going.

Without warning, the three of them stepped into a bright, sunny room with white marble floors. The sudden onslaught of light made them all cover their faces and groan. As they adjusted to the light, they began looking around. They were standing in a grand hallway, lined with white marble and soaring walls. The windows were large and majestic, letting in so much sun light that it was almost as if they were standing outside.

“Hello.” Came a voice from behind them. They all jumped as one and began slowly turning around. They had been standing in front of a doorway. The room behind them was small and round. There were three tall, thin women with pale white skin, whiter than the purest snow and long hair staring at them. Three much shorter men, one bald, one with quite a large stomach, and a slightly taller skinny one sat to the side, watching the intruders. In the middle of the room was a large, octagon shaped marble table the same color at the marble floor. On top of it, a large, odd triangular piece of glass stood. There was a square pattern in the middle of it and the glass seemed be swirling with pink and yellow wisps of smoke.  

The Woman with the long, Honey blonde hair was standing right in front of them. She had crystal clear blue eyes and pale pink lips. She was absolutely stunning. Brine thought his knees might buckle at the sight of her.

“Welcome.” She said a strong regal quality about her. I am Queen Sorceress Lauranna of Ginesfeld. These are my fellow Queen Sisters, Queen Sorceress Taddy of Hantalt.” She said, indicating the woman with the wavy black hair. “And Queen Sorceress Cantalile of Matala.” She said, indicating the woman with the long, straight honey brown hair. This is the Palace of Mauna, home to my sister High Queen Sorceress Dana Mauna. I must thank you for taking such good care of my cow.” She said, glancing at the animal, who was standing about fifteen feet away, watching the assembly with extreme interest.   

“Your cow!” Gorden said indignantly. “She is my cow. She was born on my property many years ago. I raised her. She is not your cow.” Lauranna laughed at him. “I tell you we are sorceresses and you get mad because I call the cow mine.” Her cheeks took on a red hue as she continued to chuckle.

“Sorceress? This must be some kind of joke. There is no such thing as a sorceress.” “In your world, no.” Lauranna replied. “But you are not in the world of mortal men anymore.” Brine, Gorden, and Keara all gasped. Not in the world of mortal men anymore? What do you mean?” Asked Brine suspiciously, reaching for his sword.

 Lauranna smiled a slight smile. “Come sit down. We have many things to discuss. I wasn’t expecting so many of you to come through the portal.” She eyed Keara and turned to Falfa. “Falfa, would you be a dear and bring our guests something to eat? I will not have things that wretched in my sister’s home.” Falfa bowed and backed out of the room. Keara blushed with embarrassment.  

Brine released his sword and the three of them sat down on some wooden stools. The cow came to watch from the door way.  

“Have you ever heard of the mirror world?” Lauranna began. Brine and Keara both voiced that they had, but Gorden shook his head in confusion. Lauranna took in a deep breath then turned to sit down. At this point, all the stools in the room were occupied.

She looked around for a moment, then went to the window and spied a small tree. She closed her eyes, envisioning the tree in her mind. A few seconds later, a stool materialized out of thin air. The tree outside the window shrunk several feet, but remained otherwise unharmed. Taddy and Cantalile smiled at the astonished faces of their mortal guests.

Now.” Said Lauranna, sitting down on the stool. “I will give you a brief lesson in the way of the worlds. When you crossed the bridge, did you notice all of the groupings of two, same sized objects?” Keara sat completely still, not wanting to upstage the men. Lauranna smiled at Keara and turned to Gorden, waiting for his reply. He nodded that he had, as did Brine. 

“Good. Those are what we call twin planets.” She said. “They are completely different from one another. The things on each of the planets may be similar, but never the same. They are in fact, their own separate entities; they share nothing in common with anything else around them. Some are more advanced than others. Some are full of magic, some are full of mortals. Some are full of things that are not even human. Some are completely devoid of any life. Then there are those, like this one that have both magic and non-magical creatures living in them. The only thing that the planets share in common with their twin is size and bond.”

“What do you mean bond?” Asked Gorden, a harsh and skeptical look on his face. “Lauranna smiled again, the warmth in her stunning appearance eating into some of the edginess he was feeling.  

“Each world is codependent upon its twin. If one world ceases to exist, the other will too. There are many ways that this bond can be broken. For example, there was a planet thousands of years ago that was very advanced. They had these things they called labs and they were experimenting with chemicals. They found a way to alter water so that it had all of the necessary nutrients to sustain life, this way, even if one did not have the means to eat, they would not starve, consequently ending world hunger.     

They decided their invention was so wondrous and good; that they put it into the streams and rivers so that everyone could benefit from it. They thought the water would feed and nourish healthy plants. For a while, they were right, but they failed to realize that by doing this for a long period of time, they changed the natural order of things and many plants and animals perished because the compounds in the water changed their structures in a way that was not sustainable. With the smaller creatures dead, the bigger ones had nothing to feed on.  

In the end, the bacteria growing in the water mutated and disease ran rampant, eventually, nothing could grow anymore. Because there were no more plants to produce oxygen, the planet was unable to sustain life and subsequently died. 

When this happened, the atmosphere in its twin planet suddenly became too thick for the inhabitants to breath. They all perished from suffocation. Eventually, the heart of that planet also died. The two planets still travel through space, and can be seen every eight hundred years from here; but nothing can grow on them or survive anymore. In summary; because one planet died, the other could not survive.”   

Brine scratched his head. He had never heard this story before. “Planets are not living breathing things.” He protested. “How do you know that?” She confuted. He frowned and scratched his head again. “They have no heartbeat. They cannot feel pain.” “Prove it.” She said simply. “Does a stalk of corn not grow from the dirt of the earth?” “Well, yes.” Said Brine, slowly and with a bit of doubt in his voice. “But corn grows from a seed, not the earth.”   

“It grows out of the earth. A seed cannot sprout in midair. It must be in the dirt. The dirt has nutrients in it. It feeds the seed and nurtures it. The planet provides those nutrients. It creates the environment for the things in it to thrive.”

Falfa returned with a large plate of food. Keara’s stomach growled. She was surprised at how hungry she was. “Dig in.” Said Lauranna brightly. “I’m sure you are all exhausted after spending the last couple of days in space. “They looked at her in confusion.” That was only a couple of hours.” Brine Said. Lauranna smiled a tired smile. “Each hour in space is in reality, about one day. You have been walking without knowing it. The bridges are almost completely aligned. Within a few more days, crossing that gap will only take hours."

“What does all of this have to do with us?” cut in Gorden, taking a roll filled with cherry jam from the tray. A rather large grin spread across Lauranna’s face. She was happy to be getting on with things and not discussing dead planets anymore. “Every four thousand years, the worlds line up, forming a bridge from one planet to another. In some planets, it makes no difference, but in our case, it can cause serious problems. Mortals can be adversely affected by the changes in the planetary pulls. Mortals have a tendency to think they can conquer the entire world when this happens, but they get over zealous and they have the potential to drive necessary life forces to  deadly lows, to a point where they cannot recover, then the planet will perish and both of our worlds will be destroyed. It is our jobs as Sorceresses to act as guardians of the mortal planet and prevent such things from happening.”  “If it is your job to protect our world, then why are we here? Why don’t you just go down and stop it?” Asked Gorden.   

It was Cantalile who answered them this time. Her long hair shimmering in the sunlight as she took several steps toward the mortals. “We cannot enter your world or our powers will diminish and those men will kill us. We need your help to stop them. “Gorden gave her a puzzled look. She sighed and walked back to her stool, slumping down in frustration as she took her seat. She had never been one to have patients, and these mortals were really starting to wear on her last nerve.         

Lauranna smiled at Gorden. “Have you ever heard of Girelight?” She asked. Gorden nodded. “Girelight is the keeper of the dead.” “She is not the keeper of the dead.” Lauranna frowned as she looked at him. Gorden blushed. “Girelight is my great, great grandmother. Her real name is Kadala. She was a very powerful and wise sorceress, the high Queen Sorceress, ruler of the world and all other sorceresses.

When the planets align, sometimes people can be adversely affected by the pulls between the worlds. The last time this happened was four thousand years ago. The mortal men caused a great war and were on their way to destroying the world. There were massive massacres. People no more than skeletons with skin still attached littered the streets. Many forests were burnt in rage. My great, great grandmother crossed the bridge to stop them, but by the time she tried to come back, the bridges had already started closing up and she couldn’t get out.                                                 

The longer she stayed in the mortal world, the weaker she became. Eventually, the men came after her and she perished at their hands. Because of their ignorance, they blindfolded her, thinking she could shoot magic out of her eyes to kill them with. Because of this, when she died, her soul could not leave her body and travel to the plains of serenity. Consequently, they burnt her to death and charred her soul. When the blind fold burned off, her damaged soul was able to escape her body, mutated from rotting in her corpse and unable to pass on as it should have. It became stuck between the lands of the living and the plains of the dead. The spirits pitied her plight. They decided to turn her into a protector so that no one else would have to face the plight. She became a guardian to those who die, guiding them to the gates of serenity, or delivering them to the plains of hell based on the aura of their souls. But, and let me make this perfectly clear; she is not the devil.                                                                                             

Because of the destruction she caused, a cunning and evil king used the plight of the people and turned them against themselves. He convinced everyone that he had been sent by the gods to save them and that women were evil. He turned himself into not only a king, but a god as well.                      

 Although my great, great grandmother managed to stop the world from complete destruction, the man ruled the kingdom with an iron fist, pushing out those who he could not convert and could not easily conquer. Ever since then, the women in your world have been painted as the cause of all things bad and evil.  

Even though the King’s kingdom has shrunk over the last few thousand years, his descendants have still managed to maintain a strong hold over the people. You have been living on the outskirts of his lands all this time, too poor to move, yes?” She asked Gorden suddenly, her crystal clear blue eyes shining like millions of tiny diamonds.

“Yes.” Said Gorden, taking in a ragged, unsure breath. The cow; having begun to feel forgotten at this point, edged its way into the room, nudging Gorden’s hand. Absently, he began petting her head. She rolled her eyes into the back of her skull and let out a satisfied puff of air. Lauranna glanced at the cow and smiled. “She likes you.” “What?” Asked Gorden, looking down and realizing the cow  was there for the first time.  He studied her for a moment as he petted her then turned to Lauranna.   

“How can she be your cow? You said magic couldn’t exist in our world.” Once again, Lauranna flashed a small smile. “We as sorceresses and guardians of both worlds can place what we call agents in your world to help us keep an eye on things. Some agents might be there only a few days while others might linger for many years. Like everything else in the mortal world, they too are subjected to all the same restrictions such as life span or capabilities. An agent can be anything from a tree to another person. It must be born into your world; we cannot simply make it appear. For instance; because our worlds are living, we can take some of the life from the soil to make a flower bloom or encourage grass to grow.”

The three of them stared at Lauranna in confusion. Gorden stopped petting the cow as he tried to digest what he was hearing. Not satisfied with the amount of attention she had thus far received, she repositioned herself and rubbed up against Brine but he ignored her. Pouting about the best a cow could pout, she moseyed over to Keara and nudged her in the hip. Keara, having been caught off balance and as small as she was; toppled off the stool and fell to the marble floor in a large crash.

Cantalile had had all she could handle and Keara falling was the last straw. She got up from her stool and marched out of the room, letting out a loud angry huff as she went, her honey brown hair streaming after her like ribbons of caramel chasing a spoon as it simmered in a pot.   

Keara blushed profusely as Falfa and the skinny man helped her up and righted her stool. Before she even got the chance to thank them for helping her, Lauranna begain again. She looked at Gorden. “Where did you get the cow from?” she asked. He furrowed his brow as he played with his lips, pulling them back and forth across his teeth, thinking about what to say.   

 “Many years ago, there was a man who needed shelter from the rain for the night. He had a cow with him. I gave him shelter for the night in my barn. Sometime during the storm, she gave birth. The man had no money so to thank me, he gave me the cow. He told me that he would only give her to me if I promised to raise her and never kill or sell her.” Lauranna rocked back on her heels and grinned at Taddy. “Was that Hector?” Taddy asked merriment in her emerald eyes. Lauranna nodded that it was as she turned back to face her three guests.    

“Hector was a good man. He struggled to support his ailing wife and ungrateful son. For a while, they were doing alright, but when his son ran off, he could not tend to all the work on his own. His wife was too ill to help and they were too poor to higher help. He had had that cow for three years already, but she was barren and unable to produce a babe. He cried at night, begging the Gods for help. He used to swear how good of a man he was and how loyal he had always been to the gods.  

I decided to test him, to see if he was worthy of the help he so desperately begged for. I would do little things like drop the shingles from his roof. I remember, under all of the dust that covered them, they were a rich red color. I used some of my magic to clean a couple off and fix them, then I dropped them to the ground below.” Gorden gasped. His roof shingles used to be red. He thought about the one that fell off of his house just days before. She did it. She was the reason it was red and whole. He looked at her with renewed intent, the contents of his stomach working into a knot.  

“Once I recognized him as a fair and worthy man, I decided that I needed to help his family.   I worked as much of my power as I could on the cow and the next time she laid with the bull, she came to be with calf.  

Winter hit Hector’s family very hard that year. He desperately needed the money the calf would have brought him, but to show not only you his appreciation, but me his loyalty, he gave you the calf instead. He knew you were of pure heart, and one day might be able to help me. He did what I had trained him to do. The cow was a test. It was a way for me to find someone to help me. I have known for a very long time that the aligning of the worlds would cause trouble. Long ago, I sent many agents into your world. Your cow was only one of many, but is now the only one left. It doesn’t matter though; I just needed to weed out the ones most pure of heart. I have been calling to her for the last few days, asking her to bring them to me. Because of that, you have been chosen to help me stop the corruption and destruction that will otherwise ensnare us all.”

Gorden, Brine and Keara all stared at the cow. Gorden blinked as the cow stood up straight and tall, basking in the attention. He turned to Lauranna. “But I thought you said that you could not do magic in our world.” 

“No, I cannot, not from here anyway. I can perform magic in your world if I am in your world, but it will diminish quickly and soon I will not have it at all. From here, I can do some small things. Most of it is manipulating nature to create things to be. As far as the cow goes, I caused a feeling inside of her. It was in a way, the exact same thing as natural instinct. In the case of your roof and the grass in your barn, I used the elements of your world to do that. I cannot just add things or take them away; the natural processes still come into effect. Here, let me show you.”    

She turned to the glass and the swirling wisps of smoke. Gently, she placed her finger on the surface. It rippled with her touch. Brine and Gorden gasped. For a moment, it didn’t look like it was really glass. Keara sat in perfect silence, not a single ounce of emotion present in her face for fear of being reprimanded.  

The smoke around Lauranna’s finger began to dissipate. In its place, the image of a grassy field appeared. Lauranna closed her eyes and began concentrating. In her mind, she envisioned all of the nutrients in the ground coming together in one spot. She slowly and quietly began to chant. Keara, Brine, and Gorden watched in shock and amazement as a tiny flower bud appeared in the image close to her finger. She opened her eyes, inspected the new sprout, and smiled. “That’s as much as I can do. From here on out, the flower will have to finish growing on its own.” She smiled a sly smile as she surveyed their astonished faces. “Just don’t tell my sister I grew a flower. She’ll be in your world faster than you can blink!” Taddy began laughing so hard, she nearly fell off her stool. Gorden, Keara and Brine shared a confused look. They had no idea how obsessed with flowers the High Queen Sorceress was.   

Movement in the glass brought everyone back to attention. The blades of grass were quickly disappearing, being replaced by thousands of iron clad feet. Soldiers marched across the open field. Their red feathers flapping in the wind. Horses trotted on the outsides, one side leading a group of ragged men with their hands tied together, the other side with even more wretched looking women, also tied together, most of them stripped completely naked and some bleeding severely.

Everyone in the little round room went dead quiet as they watched the images in the glass. Brine slipped off of his stool and slithered to the table. He leaned down on the marble and rested his chin against the smooth, white and grey striped surface, watching the men in the glass. The King’s personal guard swept into view. Two lines of pure white horses decorated in red and purple with gold trim trotted with determination and authority. Their officers with their purple boots and purple capes on either side, their brown horses drawing the eye almost as much as their purple clothing.

Brine’s eyes grew big as he eyed the captive men. Their clothing wasn’t like any in the king’s domain. “He’s captured Capance!” He cried. Gorden’s face drained of color. The two sorceresses looked rather worried. Right as Lauranna was about to say something, Brine gasped in terror, stumbling back from the glass. His face was as white as the marble. “They killed King Jarone.” He whispered as he tripped over his own feet, falling to the cold floor while keeping his eyes glued on the man carrying King Jarone’s head on a pole.

 “Who is King Jarone?” Asked Keara. The sorceresses looked to Brine, waiting to hear his answer. Gorden answered for him. “He was the king of the free lands.” He said, his voice trembling with emotion. Keara felt as if she was going to be sick.

If King Haden had defeated the free king, then it was only a matter of time before he over took all of the cities King Jarone once controlled. The room went dead quiet as everyone contemplated the future prospects of the mortal world with King Haden in charge.  

No longer able to bear the images in the glass, Taddy burst from her stool and ran over to the seer’s glass as tears began slipping from her pristine eyes. She thrust her hand into the image, her flesh disappearing up to her wrist. Brine, Gorden and Keara jumped in surprise. They were not expecting the seer’s glass to be liquid. The images instantly vanished and the glass turned a dark grey color as the table it sat on gave a small shudder. Within a matter of moments, the table had turned a dark brown color, the white of the marble melting away, exposing an old, worn wooden table in its place. The glass drained of all color, turning back in to a crystal clear prism, sparkling in the warm sunlight and casting small rainbows here and there around the room.

Taddy fell to the floor, sobbing uncontrollably.  “That man is going to destroy everything and we are all going to die because of it!” She cried. Lauranna bent down to comfort her. “We will all die painful deaths. Millions and millions of people and animals will suffer before each of our worlds grow dark forever!” Lauranna looked up imploringly at Brine and Gorden then went back to stroking Taddy’s long, wavy black hair as she continued to sob into Lauranna’s lap.     

“We have to do something” Brine said, glancing uneasily at the table and the glass atop of it. It was almost too much for him to take in, the cow, the grass, the sorceresses, the king.  He began to pace as he pondered their predicament. If what the sorceresses said was true, then keeping Keara safe was the least of his concern. He knew the price the world would suffer for King Haden to be in charge, now too, both of the worlds faced total and complete destruction.    

“I think that’s enough for today.” Lauranna said as she looked up, a small drop of blood on her bottom lip from where she had bitten down on it. Why don’t the three of you rest or take a stroll through the gardens. Our attendants will show you the way. I think we are all overwhelmed with the tremendous weight of the situation at hand.

 

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