The Golden Globes of Light: Part Eight
After the incident in the Mountain Fortress, Myra suggested we move in to the Two Rings Palace and hold the headquarters there. That way, we would be close to Kal Panning, not too far from Neopia City, and yet away from the chaos of the cities. In addition, it would give us a place to store artifacts and hold training sessions for the magelings. We all agreed that it was a good idea, and so began to move in. When we arrived, we found the place a complete mess. Apparently, it had been raided by the wizards of the Mountain Fortress shortly before the attack on the Desert of Roo. It took us several weeks to put everything back to order, but eventually the place was fit for our purposes. Spell casters started arriving shortly afterward to learn from us; Jantal and Zan became quite busy. After a while, the Circle met again to discuss our next visit to one of the cities of the Empire.
Our next important stop was Kal Panning. Kal Panning was actually the first topic that as a Circle we argued about. “I am telling you, Jantal,” Alex scowled. “I am not the only one that is still figuring out the particulars of my powers! The six of us would not be helpful at the meetings with the magelings and other spell casters; we could only sit and watch. I think we could spend our time doing something far more useful, like researching at Kal Panning’s library, or meeting with Faelinn.”
“One of the reasons we were appointed was to oversee the use of faerie magic on the mainland, Alex!” Zan snapped. “It would not be conducive to split up. It would send a bad message to the masses. We need to work together!”
Kassiel rolled his eyes, and I sighed. “Look, we really can not offer much help,” I said flatly. “We really are still learning the particulars of our powers. That is, except for Ky, and I am pretty certain that she is under a great deal of stress repressing her powers until she can have some free time.”
Myra gave my sister a look of surprise. “Is this true? Are you actually inspired at the moment?” she inquired unhappily.
Ky nodded uneasily. “There is something I have been working on ever since... ever since our group met Zan and Jantal a few months ago. I think I may be getting closer to finishing it now. I might actually have the version that will make it.”
I raised an eyebrow at her choice of words. It sounded just like something else I had heard before, something quite unrelated to the current circumstance. I scowled. The loss of memory of my life before we began the current adventure had been driving me up the wall in frustration.
Avery sighed. “How long have you been resisting this surge of power, Ky? You should know that it is not healthy to suppress it for very long.”
Ky blushed. “For nearly a month now,” she said meekly. Myra stiffened. “Sorry, but we had more important things to do!” she protested.
Pat put his face in his paws. “It seems we have no choice in the matter,” he said ruefully. “Ky will need to work on this project of hers or risk a temporary loss of control over her powers.”
“Will you require a forge?” Amber asked in a tone of disapproval. I was surprised that the Circle members that lived in Ancient Neopia were so negative when they should understand what Ky was going through.
“No, not yet. I prefer to work at my own forge. Alone,” Ky retorted, emphasizing her last word. I hid a small smile at her display of stubbornness. Amber gave a small huff of displeasure and stormed out of the room, Pat and Avery close on her heels. Those three always travel together, I thought to myself. Myra rolled her eyes and hurried after them. After that, the rest of us slowly dispersed from the inn’s meeting room and began to gather up equipment for the trip to Kal Panning.
There is practically nothing between Two Rings and Kal Panning but leagues and leagues of forest. It took us almost an entire day to reach Kal Panning, particularly with Pat slowing Avery down. We spent the night at a local inn, and the next morning parted our ways. Amber, Avery, Pat, Myra, Zan, and Jantal went to a meeting with the mages and other spell casters of Kal Panning. Ky, Lilly, and Ashiel went to one of Kal Panning’s libraries. I accompanied Alex and Kassiel to meet up with Faelinn. We had to wait for several hours before we could get an audience with the leader of Kal Panning. Unfortunately, the meeting was not very pleasant.
“What do you want?” Faelinn snapped. “I do not have the time for trivial matters. I do not suppose you have come to ask me about sending the mages to Two Rings for training under your superior supervision?”
Alex raised an eyebrow. “Um, no. Why would we do that? Lilly thought it might be a good idea to pay a visit. To tell you the truth, Myra and the other older members were not too pleased with the idea...”
Faelinn gave us a look of mild surprise. “Then... you aren’t here to extend your influence into Kal Panning?”
I snorted. “I never really wanted this in the first place, ma’am, and you know that. What is all this about expansion and influence?”
“Then you do not know...” Faelinn muttered, ignoring my comment. “This is not good...” She looked directly into my eyes. “After you leave Kal Panning, where will you next be visiting?”
“I am not certain,” I said slowly, “but I think our next trip will be to the Jungle Ruins. The older members seem to have started to show quite an interest in the place suddenly.”
Faelinn sat as silent as the grave. Kassiel frowned. “Is something wrong?” he asked softly.
The graying Aisha shook her head. “I may be wrong, but I am getting a bad feeling about the older members of the Circle of Twelve. They have begun to act very strangely ever since they came into power.”
“The way you say that, ‘came into power’, is very disturbing,” Alex said with a grimace.
“It is true. Ever since then, they have been gathering all the spell casters they can reach into their grasp. I have no idea what they are planning, but it can not be good,” Faelinn admitted with a slight moan.
Something about this made me shiver. “Do you think they are spying on us right now?” I hissed.
Faelinn laughed bitterly. “I highly doubt that, or else you would have transformed by now.” She shook her head sadly. “Your time in this meeting is almost over. The only advice I can offer is to be vigilant.” I felt that her comment was directed at me in particular, and I felt a shiver run up my spine.
Sure enough, we were dismissed from her presence shortly after that comment. By then, it was high noon. After a short lunch, I felt tired again, and laid down to rest. I slept right through dinner and into the following morning. I felt very grumpy. The feeling that someone was searching within me had bothered me again, and I felt jumpy coming off of the rather unusual meeting with Faelinn the previous morning. I did not feel like joining the older Circle members training the mages, so I wandered over to the library where Ky was researching for her star project.
As soon as Lilly spotted me, she grabbed me with a grip of iron and dragged me through a maze of bookshelves. The surroundings grew more and more unusual, until we finally came upon an ancient door. It was shut tight, but when Lilly touched it with her staff, it vanished completely. Lilly wasted no time in practically throwing me across the doorway and jumping into the chamber herself. As soon as she was inside, the door reappeared as silently as it had vanished; it was as sturdy as it had been before our entry.
Lilly gave out a tremendous sigh of relief. Up until that point, I had been completely silent out of fear. When she made that noise, however, I broke my silence. “What is going on here?!” I hissed.
“Ky has something very important that she wants to show us,” Lilly said quietly. “You know how she has been keeping something back all this time?”
I nodded. “Is she finally going to tell us what she knows?” I snorted. “It is high time she did that.”
“Oh, it is more than that,” Lilly said evenly. “She is going to reveal her star project. She wanted to wait until you were awake. Thankfully you came to the library on your own.”
“What do you mean?” I protested. “None of this makes any sense,” I muttered. “Why all the secrecy?”
“Just follow me, will you?” Lilly frowned. I sighed but nodded. As we journey through the twists and turns of the caves, I couldn’t help but notice we were traveling further and further from our original location. After a while, I lost track of where we were going due to a thick mist similar to the one that had been present at the Door of the Founders. We seemed to go lower and lower into the ground, and then closer and closer to our original level of elevation. It seemed to take hours until we reached somewhere remotely familiar. I squawked in astonishment when we entered a chamber that was about the right size as a very mysterious room in one of the Techo Caves.
“So THIS is what was behind that locked door!” I nearly shouted. “How did you guys find this?”
Lilly gave me a look of irritation. “Just hurry up!” she practically growled. I was startled. Lilly had never lost her temper as long as I had known her, so this uncharacteristic display of temper was rather unsettling. I kept silent as she strode over to another door and opened it in the same manner as she had opened the door in the library. I quickly followed her into a small room where the rest of the group was waiting.
Everyone was seated at a small circular table in the middle of the room. The room was completely bare, and resembled a dungeon cell more than a place to hold a meeting. There were several scrolls piled onto the table, and I suspected we might talk about them as soon as I sat down. To my disappointment, however, Ky began the meeting on another point entirely.
“While the Mists of Time are quite prevalent here, we do not have much time. Thankfully, this place dulls all spying magic, so we can discuss our views freely,” she began briskly. At the look of surprise on my face, she gave a tremendous sigh. “Lilly, did you explain anything to Shriek on the way here?”
“No, I did not. I was not sure how far the shield extended, and I did not want him to alert the others. I think they have been meddling with his mind. He always seems tired and grouchy.”
I gave her a look of surprise. Ky frowned as well. “Are you certain of this?” she asked forcefully. Lilly nodded her head, and Ky sighed. “That only confirms my theories.”
“What theories?” I interrupted. “Why are we even meeting here? I do not understand one bit of this.”
Ky gave me an unreadable look. “Shriek, the older members of the Circle are not what they appear to be.”
“What do you mean by that?” I asked sharply. “Zan and Jantal have been very helpful and patient with us.”
Ky snorted. “Have you ever had the feeling that something about this journey was insanely familiar, but you could figure out neither what it was nor why it was familiar?” she asked quietly.
I nodded. “It is a feeling that has been bothering me ever since we arrived,” I admitted.
“Did you notice that these feelings only started when we met the Shoyru Zan?” Alex inquired.
I furrowed my brow. “Now that you mention it, yes...” I clacked my beak in frustration. “That’s odd. For some reason it feels like we knew something about this before we met him, but I seem to have forgotten it.”
“You are right,” Kassiel said. I stared at him. “There is a reason that all of this is familiar. Do you remember how we first arrived here?”
I shook my head. “I can’t remember, and it has been this way for quite a while!” I snapped. “Why?! Why can’t I remember?”
Ashiel frowned. “Ky found an answer in the libraries, but we don’t really understand it.”
Ky sighed. “The longer we spend here, the more we will forget about our past. Because we are forgetting some very important things, the only logical conclusion was that we arrived from another time.”
“But how would that explain why so many things are familiar?” I protested. “This idea that we traveled through time is frankly quite ridiculous.”
Ky laughed. “We probably came from the future. We know a bit about what happened, or at least something about those we have met. We knew a great deal when we arrived here a few months ago, but something has been repressing our memories. That is why everything is so familiar.”
“Very well. That might describe why things are familiar, but it does not explain what has been causing this phenomenon, how we got here, or what the other Circle members have to do with it,” I snorted.
Ky’s face suddenly became very serious. “Kassiel told me about the meeting you had with Faelinn yesterday. Faelinn isn’t a fool. She has recognized something we have not been able to spot all this time; somehow, the older Circle members are behind all of this.”
She suddenly was overcome with a wave of panic, and slammed her hands onto the table. “Blast it all, Shriek, they are planning something! They were behind the incident in the Desert of Roo, and they are angry that we survived the casting of the shield that they had to construct to cover up their plans. They are up to something now,” she said, her voice dropping dangerously low, “and I am afraid because I can’t find out what it is!”
To be continued...