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|What used to be 'The Stone Chalice' but that name made no sense. Therefore, it has become, 'The Wizard's Library.' |
I realize it's long, but it's a real 'page turner.' (Or, Internet scroller.) I'd appreciate you to read this, or even the beginning. It's unfinished, this is only the first chapter... I don't know where it's headed. I need comments though. I need ideas. Or maybe not at all. I will leave you in mystery. Oh, and I realize that some of the names are from Greek Mythology. I knew Pandora was, but I hadn't realized Sileni was until I looked! The only thing Greek Mythos related is that Pandora is curious. No, she is not the first woman...
In the circular shine of light that shone on stone, there were books. Within the books, there was an aged man in a blue cloak. His beard reached well past his stomach, his mustache reached well past his chin, and both glittered like moonlight; his eyebrows were bushy and wild. His shiny nose hair almost touched his upper lip.
He had thick, large glasses, and he grumbled as he searched a massive book that sat heavily on a dais. He frowned and the wrinkles on his face made the moon look young.
Finally, he sighed and sat on a large, neatly stacked pile of books, gathering his gleaming robes around him and propping his bare feet on a stack of books in front of him. He leaned his head back on yet another neat assembly of books, waving his hand carelessly in the air.
“Honestly, M’Gutia, I don’t see why you have to be so fickle…” he grumbled in a hoarse voice that wasn’t used often.
Tap, clunk, tap, clunk, tap, clunk… Merlin sat erect, looking into the dark.
“Fie! Damn you, M’Gutia… I can’t even light my way to see!” He stood on his aching feet, groaning. He went protectively to the large book and closed it with a snap.
A young woman dressed in gold armor walked from the darkness and into the light. She looked Merlin up and down. Merlin looked her up and down, sighed, and sat back on the books.
“Ah… Sileni. You’ve come back.” The young woman, who had dark brown hair, low set eyebrows, and a very solemn look nodded. She gripped a sword in her graceful hand, and slowly she sheathed it. The old man folded his hands in his lap.
Sileni sat on a pile of books like the old man, her feet heavy in the golden shoes. Her body was lean and muscular, which went with her stern look.
Merlin nodded. “You came back for a reason.” Sileni nodded.
“I have. I hope you can help me.” Merlin quirked a smile and went back to the large book, opening it. “Anything for you, my dear.”
“I need to know about a little girl.”
Merlin blinked and looked at Sileni. “Yes, well, which of the millions?”
Sileni smiled, but it looked forced. “She’s bound to be different. I believe her name is Pandora.”
“That is such an odd name… It must bring her very ill luck. She must not be a very intelligent girl either. I’ll bet she’s very rash and hasty when making decisions…” Sileni cleared her throat. Merlin shook his head quickly and bent over the book, concentrating. “Sorry… sorry… Pandora… Pandora…”
After few moments of silence, except for the breathing of Merlin and the flipping of the pages in the large book, Merlin said, “Ah. Pandora.”
He gave Sileni the information. “What are you going to her for?”
Sileni was making her way through the books, looking at titles. “She knows something. At least I assume she does. I need to find out. What was the title again?” Merlin told her. She commented, “I honestly don’t know why you don’t get it for me instead of making me look through here… and how come there are no chairs? You know how I hate to sit on books… I can guess how much you do as well.” She raised her smooth voice as she traveled deeper in the books, near the darkness. Merlin sighed and leaned against the end of the dais.
“Darling, I would if M’Gutia would allow me. I had advanced so much in my years that I have forgotten to do the simplest of spells; now she will not give me the formula or book titles to renew them; I fear she is either punishing me for something or is playing a little game.” He glanced behind him at the book. “Yes, I am talking about you.”
Large, golden letters protruded from the binding of the book and spelled out in the air, “Yes, well, I don’t forget anything, unlike you.” And they disappeared. Merlin laughed and wiped his eyes, then sighed. “She will not even let me provide a bed for myself...”
Sileni said, nearing the darkness, “Serves you right!”
The golden letters appeared in the air again, “Clever girl.”
Sileni continued, “Just don’t forget about how to do anything else.”
“Oh bother, then where would I be? Living in a fish tank with no gills, that’s where…”
“I found it.” Sileni came back into the circular clearing, holding an aged, dusty book. She opened it and flipped a few pages, then stopped, staring intently at a clear, colorful image of a young girl standing besides a tree that was not fully shown.
Sileni plucked a picture from her armor and held it beside the illustration in the book.
“Yes. Just what I thought; the resemblance is uncanny, but distinguished.” Merlin walked behind her and looked over her shoulder at the picture, a hand rubbing his chin.
“Hmm… yes. Black hair, same face, same body type it seems… but look here,” he pointed at the picture that Sileni pulled from her pocket. “She has deep blue eyes.” He moved his finger to the girl in the illustration’s eyes. “She has green eyes.”
Sileni looked back and forth between them, nodding. “Yes. But they are, essentially, the same.”
“Then why do they have different eye colors?”
She shrugged, then looked up at M’Gutia. “Do you know?”
The book shuddered and the words bled from it and into the sky. “Yes. It is simple. It is genes.”
Sileni shook her head. “No, it must be something else. That’s just impossible.”
“Well, there is another option.”
“She could have blue eyes for the journey through the dwarf’s lair. Fate gave her blue eyes.”
“Yes… that makes much more sense.” She nodded and closed the book. “I must be off,” she said to Merlin. Merlin nodded slowly, watching her as she went back into the darkness.
Tap, clunk, tap, clunk, tap, clunk…
He turned to M’Gutia. “Can I have the book title… please?”
The book jiggled; laughed. “She just took it with her.”
Merlin stared into the darkness. “I suppose that is, or will be, one powerful little girl.”
The air conditioning kept the heat outside where it belonged. The fan spun lazily around, being watched by the girl with black hair and blue eyes. She lay on her back on the couch, hands under her head, watching the fan blades.
Her eyes were wide awake when a small pebble hit her window. She got up and peered out; no one there. She turned around quickly and scuffled to look for her shoes. They were under the coffee table. She slid them on and ran outside.
Down the porch steps, looking at the desolate dirt road; the green grass; the horses, the cows, and the green forest behind the house that circled most of the ranches. She bit her lower lip, and then shook her head, her braid shining in the light.
She turned to go back indoors, but before her stood three boys. She looked at them with a disgusted look. The one in the middle, the biggest and broadest, approached her.
“What do you want, Dylan?” He circled around her slowly, and she looked at him with her fierce blue eyes.
“Nothin’ much. Your mama home?”
“No, but I’ll be telling her about your little visit.” Dylan’s friends snickered. Dylan shot a mean glance at them and they shut up.
“You got taller, Pandora.”
“Move; I’ve got chores to do.”
“You got prettier.”
“Dylan, I didn’t ask you to move; I told you to.” She side-stepped to try and walk by him, but his friend cornered her next to air. She turned, but his other friend had rounded her.
“Dylan. Let me go.”
Dylan walked up to her, grinning. “I haven’t done anything yet.” She looked at them with a lazy expression, as if she were bored.
Dylan grabbed her arm and pulled her close, leaning down and brushing his lips against hers. His lips went to her ear, and he whispered, “You smell good too.”
She placed her hands on his chest and pushed him back. “Dylan, understand that you have become only fouler to me. Step away; I’ve got chores to do.”
Dylan frowned and looked at his friends and nodded. They both grunted and took Pandora by the arms, lifting her up. She started to kick and attempted to wiggle away, but they were too strong; they took her to the side of the house and threw her against it, stunning her for a moment. Both of them got on either side of her and turned their backs, watching out. Dylan stood in front of her, holding her waist so she didn’t fall.
He grabbed her button-up shirt and ripped the first three buttons off, opening it and kissing her neck, groping at her soft flesh. She screamed in his ear and threw a punch at his face. He yelped, but it wasn’t enough. His hand went around her neck and pinned her; he used his other hand to undo the buttons on her pants, but before he could pull them down, Pandora drop-kicked him in the groin.
He grunted and groaned loudly, his knees buckling, clutching his groin. His friends turned around, but they didn’t see Pandora.
She had escaped under the porch; she was crawling to the other side. She kicked open the wood diamond fence and squeezed out of it, running behind the house and for her life to the forest.
Dylan saw her as he lay on the ground and pointed after her, “Get ‘er!”
His friends started running after her, but she had already entered the forest. She’d never ventured very far, always keeping sure she could see home, but this called for desperate measures.
She could hear herself breathing heavily, but she kept running, making sure not to trip on anything. She buttoned her pants back up as she ran, and the tree branches scratched her cheeks and chest; she kept running.
She came to a stream and tripped over a fairly large rock, splashing in the water. It was shallow, and she lay in it for a moment, catching her breath; her lungs were on fire. She closed her eyes, the sun beating on her face, and the water running through her blouse. She listening to the sound of water, the fast beat of her heart gradually become slower, and listened to the throbbing pain in her foot.
Eventually, she got up slowly, making sure not to get dizzy. She scooped up some water and drank from her hand, then unbuttoned her shirt and wrung it out, shook it out, and laid it on a rock to dry out some. She sat on a rock herself, looking around.
The light green and dark green of the forest went well with the brown of the dirt, she decided.
“In here, people haven’t messed everything up,” she said aloud.
The sun sank behind a tree, casting thick, bright rivulets of light. As Pandora peered closer, she saw small specs. She thought at first it was only dust, but then she noticed how they all gathered and then floated lightly away in the same direction; right behind her.
She grabbed her shirt, and even though it was still somewhat wet, she put it on, watching the small specs of whatever they were float in that one stream of direction. She followed, fascinated.
When an entire load of them started to swirl around her, touching her cheeks, getting into her hair, she noticed, with some shock, where they were going.
She’d walked into a large clearing, but it had moss and overgrowth. There, in the middle of it all, where the specs were headed, was a tree.
It was lifted out of the ground, but perfectly still as if it had been firmly in the soil. Its massive roots hung limply, but alive. Dirt clung to them.
Birds and other strange animals hovered within the trees colossal branches, and the fat trunk seemed to hold owls and squirrels alike. Pandora’s mouth hung open as she numbly walked closer, using a thicket of grass to balance herself at the sight.
It all glowed with a nimble light, as if it were an angel tree; it had a sort of “God-Light” about it.
She walked up to the trunk and touched it. She felt an invigorating sense fill her; a sense of freedom; a sense of passion and desire.
Her breathing became heavy, her fingers unable to let go of the tree that gave her so much pleasure…
She knew her face showed a delightful expression, with wide eyes and an open mouth; if her mother saw her, it would be for the first time that she wouldn’t have a dulled, bored expression, but that of a happy child. She leaned down and looked at the bottom of the tree, gently touching it and getting the dirt all over her hands and jeans. She stood back up and pressed her ear to the tree, gasping with pleasure and wonder; she heard the tree’s heartbeat. It was alive.
She pulled away from the tree, her fingertips pressed gently to it as she looked up into the oblivious sky.
She heard branches break and someone’s footsteps, and immediately turned around, thinking it was Dylan’s bodyguards. But it wasn’t. She saw no one.
“Girl, over here,” a stern woman’s voice said.
Pandora looked to her right, and squatting in a brush of wildflowers was probably the most beautiful woman she had ever seen.
She had golden brown hair that matched her low set eyebrows; her nose was small and perfected, her lips were the colors of cherries and very pleasant to look at, and her eyes! They were like her hair: a golden brown. She had long eyelashes that went with her long and lean body, and her eyebrows were like wings that curved the perfect shape of her eyes.
The woman stood up, dressed in gold armor. Pandora noticed that all the small specs were gathered around that gold; the gold that clung to her breasts and shoulders, to her hips and the gold that hung down her thighs, and at her ankles; her ankles especially.
Pandora’s back was pressed against the tree and she still felt the freedom, but something inside her was telling her to get away before she got too much.
Painfully and reluctantly, she stepped away from the tree, keeping her eyes on the woman.
“You are much smarter than you’ve given off to be in the past,” the woman said in her smooth, firm voice.
“How do you know about my past?”
The woman’s mouth twitched into a half-smile that looked forced. “You ask the right questions as well. And the answer to the one you’ve just asked is simple.” She reached behind her and pulled an aged book out, tossing it to land in front of Pandora, perfectly so she could read the title.
Pandora’s eyebrows furrowed and she shook her head. “I’ve never heard of that book. Why would I be in it?”
The woman stopped smiling and raised an eyebrow, squatting in the wildflowers again. She nodded to the book. “Open it to the marked page.”
Pandora sat on her knees and picked the book up slightly, looking at the edges. “But there are no…” she stopped, opening the cover. The book immediately flopped around like a fish with no air and then fell open to a specific page. It had a picture of… of her in it.
She blinked and picked the picture up. “But where did you --?”
“Now look at the illustration.”
Pandora did so, leaning down close.
A girl, in a yellow Renaissance gown, was in the picture. She had long, braided black hair and was touching the trunk of a tree that wasn’t fully there. She was looking to the audience, with her fingertips pressing lightly against the trunk of the tree. Little specs floated around her, encircling her. The girl looked just like Pandora.
“She’s… is that me?”
The woman shrugged. “I was hoping you could tell me.”
Pandora, now examining more closely, pointed out, “It can’t be me. She’s got green eyes. Mine are blue. See?” She looked at the woman, who looked back.
The woman nodded solemnly. “Fate gave you those blue eyes.”
Pandora paused, looking at the woman. “Really?” she whispered.
“I would have thought you’d argue with me on that point. At first it was a theory that it was genes.”
Pandora slowly shook her head. “No. No one has blue eyes in my heritage. No one I know of at least. I’m different from them. I don’t… I don’t even look like any of them.”
“Then you, my dear, are the one I am looking for.” She stood up and approached Pandora, stroking her hair.
“Who are you, anyway?”
“My name is Sileni. I am a female warrior. One of the few.”
“Something is odd about your armor. The specs are all clouded around it; they must be attracted to it or something… what is it made out of?”
“It’s made of the sap from that tree, blessed and turned into gold. It keeps me quite protected. One day, when you are older, you will possess something as rare as this. But that day is not soon… at least let us hope it is not.”
Pandora shook her head. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. But it seems like you know me. My whole biography is in here, it appears.” She scanned some of the pages in the book. “This is strange. Does it foretell the future?”
“Yes. But if I were you, Pandora,” she leaned down to look Pandora eye-to-eye, “I wouldn’t get too curious. It may change your whole future if you look.”
“Or, it may be fate for me to look.”
The woman laughed, it was cold, but Pandora enjoyed the sound. She liked it that this woman didn’t laugh all the time like the rest.
“You aren’t from even this time, are you, Sileni?”
“No Pandora. I am not. In honesty, I am not from anywhere.”
“Are you like Athena in Greek Mythology?”
“I suppose. I haven’t read much on the Greeks, though. I was born, but I wasn’t raised, if that makes sense.”
Pandora nodded. “How come this tree is in this forest?”
Sileni blinked, genuinely puzzled. “Darling, you don’t know?” Pandora shook her head, the specs that were gathered there fleeing, and then returning.
“Hmm…” Sileni stood up straight and looked around. “What could possibly make you think you were still in your own forest and not Tio’s Forest?”
“Because I fell in a brook and… then I got up and followed these little specs. And who’s Tio?”
Sileni looked at Pandora and nodded, understanding. “Yes. I suppose that would get you a bit mixed up. Well, no worries Pandora, no one will find you here. You’re not even in the same time zone you were before.” She looked Pandora up and down. “Our clothing won’t do. We don’t want to stand out, Pandora. And in a moment, you will meet Tio. Let’s go, love.” She put her hand on Pandora’s shoulder and led her through undergrowth. Pandora looked longingly back at the tree, wondering, with the sap turned to gold and hanging all around her, if Sileni felt like she had all the time.
They walked into a small town. Only the town was made of trees and flowers and bushes; the colors were amazing. Pandora had that same surprised expression back on her face, Sileni however, looked as stern as ever.
She glanced first at the sky, then pulled Pandora, “This way; wrong block.” They walked down a neat dirt trail that didn’t scuffle when you walked on it. Pandora couldn’t help but whisper, “That is a neat trick…”
They came to an oversized belly of a willow tree, the branches and leaves serving as the door. They walked in, and then walked inside the trunk.
Pandora’s mouth hung open and Sileni reached with a finger and closed it.
In the back of the store, they heard rustling, and then a dark-skinned man walked out. He had a goatee and bright smile.
“He’s wearing a suit?”
“Shh, Pandora.” Sileni smiled warmly at the man and he smiled in return, walked up to her, and grasped her hand, never taking his eyes off hers.
“Ah, Sileni…” Pandora blinked, soothed by his voice. It sounded like the wind flowing through the willow branches outside, with just a touch of male.
“Tio, it’s so nice to see you again!” She leaned up and kissed both his cheeks and he to hers. He was only an inch or two taller than Sileni. As they parted, Sileni had pink on her cheeks.
Tio’s gaze went to Pandora, and his smile was replaced with that stern look she was so used to getting.
Pandora looked back at him, looking bored. After a few moments of looking at each other, Tio laughed; tilting his head back and holding his belly.
Pandora watched with the same expression, clasping her hands in front of her. Once Tio was done, he grabbed Pandora’s chin to get a better look at her face. “Ah, she’s a doll, Sileni. She could be your daughter if you really tried. Did you teach her those skills?”
“I’m afraid not; Pandora was like that when I found her. Only when I found her she was… ah, how you say… being pleasured.”
Tio looked sharply at Sileni, who was still smiling. “Oh,” he said as he let out a relieved breath. “The tree. Yes.” He looked back at Pandora. “You never felt such a thing, correct?”
“That is accurate, yes.”
Tio laughed again, “Oh she’s just like you, Sileni. Perhaps she looks a bit different, but she does sort of resemble you…”
“I believe Tio that this girl resembles everyone. And I have never had a child. You know that.”
Tio shook his head and shrugged his shoulders, walking behind the counter and opening a large book, taking out a small tree branch that was cut to a fine tip and dipping it in ink. “Well, Sileni. I know that you didn’t come here for just a visit,” he nodded to Pandora, “bringing her and all. What do you need?”
“Clothes that look like this.” She pulled out the book that Pandora saw herself in and flipped it to the page where Pandora was in a yellow dress.
“Ah, yes. Renaissance. One of my favorite era’s of clothing… they were so darling.” He gazed happily and dreamily at the picture, then snapped out of it.
Pandora wondered if they were in the future. But a future of this?
“Young Lady Pandora, please step into the mirrored area.”
Pandora did, and Tio opened her arms straight out. “Now just stay like that while I take measurements.”
Sileni groaned. “Tio, you can just –”
Tio looked at her sharply. “Sileni, this is a one in a lifetime opportunity. At least let me get my hands on such a magnificent piece of flesh.”
Pandora blinked and blushed, trying not to squirm as he took the measurements of her hips and thighs.
“You are quite a tiny thing, Pandora. Do you exercise a lot?”
“But your skin is so milky… you must not go outside a lot, right?”
Pandora almost shook her head. “On the contrary; I’m quite active outside the house. I usually have chores to do.”
“How do you do it?”
Pandora bit her lower lip, almost shrugging. “I don’t know; it just happened that way.”
Pandora watched as he made the outfits. He used the same yellow fabric in the illustration for hers, and a deep golden brown for Sileni; the perfect color for her.
He used his fingers to bring the material and supplies in the air, snipping and sewing, and measuring. It was as if he were simply putting on a show.
When he was finished with Pandora’s dress, he smiled and said, “I’m getting too old for this.”
Sileni shook her head and handed the dress to Pandora. Pandora asked, “Do I get to put it on now?”
Tio looked at her. “Not quite, love. I’ve still got to make you your under gown and finish the corset.” Pandora groaned.
Sileni and Pandora walked of Tio’s place, wearing the first dresses he’d made. They carried the others.
“Where did you put your armor?”
“In my back pocket,” Sileni smiled.
Pandora laughed, picking up part of the yellow dress so it wouldn’t get dirty.
“Oh, darling, the dress won’t get dirty here.”
Pandora dropped the dress, amazed that it didn’t pick up any dirt.
“Where are we going next?”
Sileni snapped her fingers as they rounded a corner. A carriage appeared with white horses, who stammered with restlessness. A driver sat in the front, immobile.
Pandora was awe-struck.
Sileni tapped her shoulder and pointed to an open trunk, which already held her dresses. Pandora put them in neatly, careful not to fall over. She could hardly breathe in her corset.
They climbed into the cushiony carriage without a word. Pandora watched as the trunk flew over to the back of the carriage and settled itself in. She turned around to look at the driver, who didn’t blink as he flung the whip. The horses stumbled and then trotted at an easy pace.
“Oh, we’ll never get there like this!” Sileni said impatiently. She snapped her fingers and the driver turned around to look at her with empty eyes.
“Pegasus,” Sileni said in a demanding voice.
Tio watched from a window in the large belly of the tree. He shook his head, watching the white horses grow wings and fly off into the sky.
“Oh Sileni, you’ll never learn to be patient, will you?”
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