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|What will they see? What will be her quest?||
"What the...?" Mya almost yelled as she walked into the room then caught herself.
"Surprised?" The oracle said, smiling. He could smile because he wasn't a dragon. He was human. "I have been waiting for you for a long time. I saw it would be you who would come. I hope the dragons didn't scare you too much."
All Mya could do was stare with her mouth wide open. She could understand everything he said, but it wasn't exactly English. She figured Hermes was translating. Hermes didn't materialize, and stayed completely quiet.
"So, I guess the dragons told you that you were here for a reading?"
"Wha... Who? You are a human? Here? Are there more?" Mya continued to stare opened mouthed.
The man chuckled good naturdely in spite of Hermes' warning.
"Strange is it not? I was just as surprised as you when I saw who was coming. I was expecting someone quite different. It's strange seeing a human again too. I don't see them often. Do you always wear such strange clothes now?"
Mya looked at herself. She was just wearing her baggy black jeans and a red T-shirt. It was then she noticed the man's clothes. In the shock of seeing another human, she had not looked at the other's clothes. Now she did. He was wearing camel colored robes that billowed about him, even when he wasn't walking. He wore no hat, and he had hair, but it was completely silver. His eyes were a dark gray, almost black. He stood straight with a commanding aura. Even though there was a good naturedness about him, he seemed like someone she didn't want to tick off.
"These, these are what I always wear," she managed to stammer. "Wha.. What is your name?" Even when almost speechless, she couldn't resist another question.
"My name isn't important right now. Just refer to me as Enoch."
"No, no of course not. I just said you could refer to me as Enoch." He smiled. "Now, you came here to receive a reading."
"No," she corrected, "I was taken."
"Yes, 'and God took him...'"
"What?" she looked at him curiously. "You said you weren't..."
"That I did," he cut her off and sat down on a block of rock in front of a natural table. "We will now have a reading."
"Will it evolve Hermes?" she questioned boldly.
"Who?" He tensed for a second as he looked around, then he smiled. "Hermes? Is that what he told you to call him? Figures and fits.
"Hermes, show yourself, or just prove you are here."
Hermes rippled and fell silent.
"Ah, bad mood I see. Ok, return to your spiritual world. Be read to come if I call again."
Hermes did nothing but flicker again, and then he was gone.
"Call again? It was you who called him?"
"Of course it was me! I called you too. I did it in the nicest way possible. At least you had been asleep. I thought Hermes should be there to help you. He is the guardian of the spiritual realm."
"So Hermes knew everything?" She was not happy, and showed Enoch with a glare.
"Of course he knew everything, although it is a surprise he was able to bring you here with the darkness almost surrounding you. I had been watching. Maybe my connection with Hermes is what brought him here."
"Well that's just great! He knew everything, wouldn't tell me, and on top of all that, he didn't even say goodbye!" Her cheeks had gotten red from anger.
"He does not like being outside his spirit realm. It's more dangerous for him to be out of the spiritual world than it is for you to be out of the physical world. Considering the circumstances that you two left, I am sure he was quite unhappy. In fact I am surprised he stayed as long as he did. He will return, I know it." Mya seemed reassured and her mind was back on the reading.
"What will this reading tell me?"
"Oh yes, the reading..." he motioned for her to sit down on a rock in front of him on the other side of the table. "This is not a usual reading. This is only performed, well, hmm," He paused for a second, unsure of how to continue, "how old would you say I am?"
Mya looked at him as if he had lost his mind then studied his features. He had wrinkles and gray hair, but he didn't seem that old. It was his coal gray eyes that hinted at his true age. She could see that he was really quite old.
"Well, physically, you look fifty, sixty-ish, but I am sure you are older than that."
"I will be five hundred and eighteen years old in six months. I came here when I was seventeen."
"I am seventeen."
"Do you know what I do?"
"Give psychic readings?" She was unsure, and when she was unsure, she reverted to sarcasm. Enoch's eyes narrowed.
"It is not as easy as all that. I do not do this often and in fact I have never done this type of reading. This is the second to last test in a series that must be performed."
"Have you been testing me? Why?"
"I haven't been testing you. They have." There were those 'they' again. Mya was beginning to feel nervous every time they were mentioned.
"Who are 'they?'"
"They are the rulers. They are separate from the physical, separate from the spiritual, and yet intertwined with both. They make all the rules we live by. No one knows much about them. We don't know if 'they' are one creature or many. Some people worship 'they' as Gods. Some only think of 'they' as another species that can pass the boundary of the two realms. Some distrust 'they', believing 'they' to be evil. These are the enemies of 'they' and all who follow 'they.' These evil people believe in the power of some other, or in their own power."
Mya cocked an eyebrow.
"And, why have they been testing me?"
"They have been testing you to take my place."
"Take your place?"
"Of course. I can't live forever and this post can't be left unattended. All thirteen must be together."
"What is it exactly that you do."
"I am with a group of thirteen that come from Earth that follow the Great Ones, or they. They speak through us thirteen, telling us what must be done, or showing us the future."
"Why earth? Why humans?" she couldn't help but think their were better choices than humans, but she hadn't seen many good humans.
"Earth is a special case among the realms. They can be taught quickly and they adapt to changes into their environment. They can even adapt to the spiritual realm with relative ease. Humans also have the ability to choose between good and evil. For some reason, maybe it's some human adaptation; they only work through humans. Some creatures resent this, but these creatures can do nothing if they do not work through them."
"How do these other creatures trust you?"
"'They' always give a sign to the creatures that we are doing the right thing. There is always a sign. And the human who is chosen to be one of the thirteen must prove himself or herself worthy with a test set forth by They."
"Interesting. Anything else I should know?"
"We are not the only group of thirteen. The evil ones also have a group of humans that work for them. These humans have more power over their people. They are quite like us, but the opposite of us. The balance must be kept in our favor. That is why earth is so special. It has to keep good and evil in the right balance. That is why there are so many wars. We can not let evil triumph in these wars. In the past few months, their activity has decreased. We are expecting a strike during our most vulnerable time."
"When is that?"
"When we change one of the thirteen."
"Well, don't take this the wrong way, but I never asked for any of this. What if after I got here I did not want to do it? I mean, I haven't had much of a choice in all of this."
"Wouldn't want to do it?" He repeated, "You have no choice."
"No choice? I don't have a choice?"
"If you fail the tests, we can choose another, but only if you fail, and the second choice is never as good."
"So, I get thrown into this in my sleep with out warning and I have no choice whether I stay or leave? This is just great!"
"This is the way we have done it for centuries. Do you really want to go back to where you live? One of the reasons you were one of the choices is that you have no connection with people. You could come here without leaving your heart."
"I know I had no one close. It isn't my fault my parents left more or died or what ever it was that they did. Maybe I never had much of a chance to "form a connection with someone." Now I never will have a chance at a normal life." Her eyes had filled with tears, her clenched fists and tense body shook.
"Calm down, child. Its not as bad as all that. It is a real honor to be chosen. You should be proud."
"Proud to be unloved..." Tears were still in her eyes. She untensed her muscles a bit and turned away from the oracle.
"No child, you are here because even in your adversity you still did not have a completely evil heart as most would have. Your trials also made you strong." His gaze fixed on her as he paused. "Evil took your parents; why, we do not know, but you have a chance to fix that, to right that wrong. You will have a chance to fix that here, more than you would have a chance at a normal life on earth."
"Yeah, it wouldn't have been normal." The tears that threatened to come before came now. She didn't try to wipe them away as she thought about her parents. Enoch waited a second, to let her calm down a bit.
"So... let's get on with the reading." Mya sat down on the rock chair and rubbed her red eyes.
"Do you wish to start now? We can continue after you have had some rest." He moved his hand to pat her on the shoulder, but Mya shrugged his hand away.
"Let's just continue. I can't wait to see what test I have to complete now." She had stopped crying completely and had regained some composure. And some sarcasm.
The oracle nodded and brought from his robes a silver, circular mirror and a crystal ball that he placed in a depression in the middle of the table. He placed the mirror beside it.
"Please, no questions during the reading. I must concentrate, and so must you."
Enoch gave her a look, but said nothing. He straightened his robes and his posture as he settled himself for the reading. He closed his eyes and moved his lips as if talking. Then he touched first the mirror with two fingers, then the crystal ball. His hands went back to the mirror. He opened his eyes and bent over it. Mya couldn't resist temptation and leaned over to see what was in the mirror.
At first it seemed to Mya to be nothing more than a regular looking glass. She was disappointed at first, but then the image of the cave roof began to spin into darkness. It seemed that they were looking into a hole in the table for a second, and then new images began to appear. The images were all human faces of different ages. Finally, there was blackness again, but this blackness was speckled with stars. Enoch murmured something, but Mya couldn't tell what he was saying. Enoch fell silent as the view shifted. It moved to a galaxy, a cluster of stars, and a planet, moving closer and closer till both readers could see clearly which it was.
"Earth..." Enoch said under his breath. "The balance must have shifted. Only then would you be needed there."
The image that had only paused now continued moving; coming into sharper focus: The Western Hemisphere, North America, The United States, and the south. The image moved till they were looking at a small house. There the image ended. Mya blinked, trying to focus on the room they were in.
"Strange." Enoch muttered to himself as he placed the mirror and sphere back into his robes.
"What is strange?"
"Usually the instructions are much clearer, and they usually don't end like that. You did pass this test, because you were able to see, but something is trying to make this hard for you." He paused and looked at her. "To get to Earth, you will need experience in traveling. We will begin in the morning."
"Travel? Like walking?"
"No, child," exasperation filled his voice. "You were able to get from earth to here through the spiritual realm. It is quite easy to get anywhere through the spiritual realm, you just need practice."
"So Hermes could have brought me home after all?"
"Well, he couldn't because I told him not to, but yes, he would have been able."
"Why that little..." It looked like smoke might start pouring out of Mya's ears.
"Enough Child." Enoch's voice commanded.
"Fine." She snapped back, "We'll work tomorrow. In the meantime, where will I sleep? Eat?" She got a laugh from Enoch as her stomach growled.
"Your room is next to mine. As for food, well, I am cooking. The dragons are good for bringing me edible things, but we can not eat their food, and they're terrible cooks when they try to cook for us."
After dinner of some alien meat that looked like chicken but, ironically, tasted like beef, some green grass-tasting vegetables, and some flavorful yellow fruits that looked like apples but were actually some berry; Mya went to her room to sleep.
It was easier said than done. She could hear the dragons moving about like mountains, and just as noisily. Also the beds were rock with only animal skins for a mattress and blankets. Mya couldn't sleep at all. She was happy she would be able to return to Earth, but she didn't know what to do after that. She stayed awake most of the night tossing and turning literally her body, and figuratively all the things in her head.
She did manage to fall asleep, when the sky was gray with morning.
|Chapter 8: Enter the Spirit World||Chapter 7: Lessons|
|Chapter 23: Cooking and Mindreading||Chapter 12: ...Found...|
|Chapter 14: ...Fate...||Chapter 16: The Beginning of the Quest|