THIS IS TAKEN FROM PART FIVE, CHAPTER SIXTEEN, AND IS THE CATALYST THAT WILL LEAD TO PART SIX, WHICH WILL BE THE FINAL PART OF THIS BOOK.
THIS IS THE ENTIRE SIXTEENTH CHAPTER OF THIS FIFTH PART, SO IF YOU LIKE WHAT YOU READ IN THE BEGINNING, THEN BOOKMARK IT SO YOU CAN COME BACK.
THE MAIN CHARACTERS IN THIS STORY ARE AS FOLLOWS:
MAYNA…SHE BEGAN LIFE IN OUR WORLD, BUT ON HER SIXTEENTH BIRTHDAY HER WHOLE WORLD…AND CONCEPT OF REALITY, WAS FOREVER SHATTERED WHEN HER MOTHER GAVE HER TWO SEEMINGLY SIMPLE GIFTS…A MINIATURE FULLY FUNCTIONAL POTTERY WHEEL WITH SMALL BAGS OF CERAMIC DUST AND CLAY…AND A TINY UNICORN STATUE…A STATUE THAT WAS ANYTHING BUT ORDINARY, FOR IT WAS ACTUALLY A REAL UNICORN NAMED “SHAEELA” WHO HAD BEEN ENCHANTED BY A WITCH.
MIRIAM…SHE IS MAYNA’S MOTHER AND THEY HAVE A VERY TIGHT BOND. A SINGLE PARENT, HER HUSBAND, MAYNA’S FATHER, WALKED OUT ON THEM WHEN MAYNA WAS VERY YOUNG. THE EVENTS LEADING UP TO HER ACQUISITION OF MAYNA’S BIRTHDAY GIFTS WERE ODD IN AND OF THEMSELVES.
GWYNETH…THE WITCH WHO CURSED SHAEELA AND CHANGED HER TO A STATUE, SHE IS DUAL NATURED, POSSESSING TRAITS OF BOTH GOOD AND EVIL. SHE PLAYS A KEY PART THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE BOOK.
LAEEMRYN…A HIGH MAGIC CASTER, MANY CENTURIES OLD, WHO IS ALSO A KEY PLAYER IN THE STORY.
KHARYTH…A MALE DRAGON, LEADER OF THE DRAGONS AT THE REFUGE.
AELEETH…ONE OF KHARYTH AND RHAEMYTH’S CLUTCH-KIND
ZELAEETHA…A WITCH OF GREAT POWER…TOTALLY EVIL…AND ALSO GWYNETH’S MOTHER.
S’ALEENA…A NATIVE TO THE PLANET THE REFUGE IS ON, SHE ENDS UP BEING AN ALLY IN THE CAUSE OF GOOD.
AELKYN…FLYING CREATURES, THEY BOND WITH S’ALEENA’S PEOPLE AT THE AGE OF EIGHT IN A BOND THAT IS NOT ONLY MENTAL, BUT EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL AS WELL…WHAT HAPPENS TO ONE ALSO HAPPENS TO THE OTHER.
SO, WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, PRESENTING
THE IHMAEERAN CHRONICALS
PART FIVE: CHAPTER SIXTEEN
The moment that Gwyneth released the time stop spell, the others picked up where they had left off, saying a few words amongst themselves and then all of them turning to focus once more on Laeemryn and Gwyneth.
Mayna looked at the two high magic casters, a look of uncertainty in her eyes, “Uh, you two do think mom and I could learn to do the dream walk thing, don’t you? I mean, if we all linked and touched Aeleeth, couldn’t she teach us? Or is it something only the Dracaelyn can do?”
Gwyneth did not respond verbally, but she sent a silent message to Miriam and Mayna both, “Do not betray that we are speaking, but I will tell you this, Laeemryn has contacted Aeleeth and you both, along with Thamyraeem and Zaeeshyn, are to meet Laeemryn and I at the transport cages tomorrow morning. I will be time-stopping S’aleena and the Aelkyn till we return. Laeemryn feels that, despite M’aeena’s vouching for S’aleena’s good intentions, it would be wise to retain some secrets to ourselves for the time being. You are both to inform Thamyraeem and Zaeeshyn of this plan tonight before retiring. And you are to be ready to leave at sunrise. I will see to our having something to eat once we get to the canyon. Rhaemyth will also be coming with us.”
Not by so much as a flicker of an eyelash did Miriam or Mayna betray that anything out of the ordinary had occurred, but their mental response came nearly in perfect unison, “We’ll be ready. And we will alert Zaeeshyn and his father.”
Mayna turned to S’aleena, her eyes twinkling, “Hey, I just remembered, we promised to tell you about Mom and I. That is if you would like to hear our story?”
S’aleena gave her a wide grin, “I was wondering if you would remember telling me you would share your story! I did not want to offend, so I said nothing to remind you.”
Miriam and Mayna exchanged glances, then with a slightly raised eyebrow, Miriam gave her daughter a slight nod, letting her know that she “had the floor”.
So Miriam and Mayna began sharing their fantastic adventures, with Gwyneth and Laeemryn sharing their first meetings with the two former mortals. It was nearly midnight before they all retired.
And S’aleena got so caught up in Miriam and Mayna’s adventures that she never realized that Gwyneth had never answered Mayna’s question about learning to dream walk.
Gwyneth’s mental call woke Miriam and Mayna the following morning, “Miriam, Mayna, awaken, we need to hurry, for I overslept. I will meet you by the transport cages. And do not worry about S’aleena and the Aelkyn, they are already under a time-stop spell, so will not awaken at all till we return. Now come, get ready, Laeemryn and I, along with Thamyraeem and Zaeeshyn, will be awaiting you, for I have already awakened all three. Kharyth, Rhaemyth and Aeleeth are already by the cages.”
As they were trying to hurry to get ready, Mayna suddenly paused, “Mom, I had an idea last night just before I fell asleep. Since we are going to be out at the canyon anyway, why don’t we practice some more on our shape shifting to dragon form? It might come in handy being able to do it quickly.”
Miriam looked up from where she was fastening her boots, her eyes thoughtful, “You know, that might not be a bad idea. After all, the knowledge transfer shouldn’t take that long, and we do, as you said, need to practice our shape shifting in mid-air more. Very well, I will talk to Gwyneth and Laeemryn and see what they think. Now would be the best time, too, for early morning seems to be about the only time we have never seen the dark fliers. Now, if you are ready, we need to get going.”
Once everyone had gathered at the cages, they all entered and it did not take long for Kharyth, who had been circling above the cages, to swoop down and grab their cage and they were off, Rhaemyth and Aeleeth flying just behind them.
They were about midway to the canyon when Mayna, who had seemed to be slightly distracted, suddenly spoke, “Gwyneth, Laeemryn, mom was going to talk to you about this, but I think I can explain it better. I was thinking last night just before I fell asleep and I think that since we will be in the canyon anyway today, maybe we could practice our mid-air shape shifting. I don’t know why, but I have the oddest feeling that it is going to be very important that we can change to our dragon forms quickly. We just needed to know if you thought that might be a good idea as well, instead of coming straight back after we link.”
Gwyneth cast a quick glance at Laeemryn, then at his slight nod turned back to Mayna, “That sounds like a good idea. After all, to use a phrase from your old world, ‘Practice makes perfect.’, right?”
“Oh wow! Too cool, right mom!” Mayna said, giving Miriam a broad grin, her silver eyes madly whirling pools of excitement, “Of all the things we have changed into so far, I love being a dragon best!”
Miriam laughed and tapped Mayna’s nose, “Sweetheart, you are simply too much sometimes, but I love you more and more with each passing day. And I am so very, very proud of you. You have grown to be, as Laeemryn once said, ‘a strong, beautiful female.’ and I am so glad that you are on our side, for I also agree with something Gwyneth once said about pitying anyone who hurts someone you love.”
Laeemryn leaned forward a little to look around Gwyneth and Miriam, who were both between himself and Mayna, “Your mother is right, Mayna, you, I think, are going to prove to be a force to be reckoned with. Now, everyone hold on tight, for Kharyth just sent me a message that we are almost to the canyon. Once we get there, we will all link and touch Aeleeth, then she will give us all the necessary information.”
Once they had landed, they all gathered around Aeleeth, Laeemryn and Gwyneth each linked hands then reached out and linked with Thamyraeem and Zaeeshyn, who each in turn linked with Miriam and Mayna, then all of them stood waiting for Aeleeth to give the signal to close the link.
Aeleeth suggested that they might want to practice for a while using the power, so that they could maintain not only their focus on their current surroundings but also on where their targeted area was as well.
Aeleeth crouched down so that her eyes were almost level with them all, “Tiny friends, once the transfer is complete, first I think we shall start with something simple. You will all focus on picturing yourselves as clearly as you can, and then picture yourself standing directly in front of yourselves. But remember, you must keep a small part of your mind separate so that you create a double of yourself instead of teleporting. Which, by the way is what would happen if you do not keep a tiny part of yourself focused on your current position when you start picturing where you want to see the image of yourself.”
Mayna suddenly gave a huge grin, “Hey, Aeleeth, thanks for the tip, I’ve been wondering how to do that for some time now! I’ll have to get with you later and have you teach me!”
Aeleeth focused her thoughts on Mayna alone, “Do not worry, tiny bond-friend, you will not have to wait till later, as I had already planned on including that knowledge as a surprise for you and your mother!”
Mayna had to look downwards for a moment to hide her grin, not aware that her mother had been secretly “eavesdropping”.
Miriam had gotten a rather peculiar feeling that Mayna was up to something when her eyes had narrowed just a tiny fraction and a slight smile had touched her mouth.
Miriam knew that look very well, both from her daughter’s former face and from this one. The little scamp was up to something, and she now had the power to find out what.
So she had slipped into Mayna’s mind unnoticed and heard Aeleeth’s words. But when Miriam, who had been watching Mayna out of the corner of her eye while seemingly gazing at Aeleeth, saw Mayna start to turn her head towards her, she quickly focused her eyes straight forward and kept her face relaxed, never once betraying that she was aware anything had transpired.
Aeleeth stood back up and then looked down at the two legged who stood linked together, only lacking the two high magic casters touching herself to close that link, “Are you all ready?” she asked them, her mind-speak clearly heard by all there.
At their joined affirmation that they were, she gave the two high magic casters the signal, “Very well, Master Laeemryn, Mistress Gwyneth, close the link…now”
And the moment Laeemryn and Gwyneth both touched Aeleeth’s leg, every single creature there froze as the knowledge transfer began.
Once the transfer was complete, Aeleeth began to teach them how to focus on splitting their concentration into two places at once and how to form, and control, their “shadow-selves”.
They practiced for hours, and by the time they were through, every single one of the two legged could shadow walk and move small objects with their shadow-selves.
They took a small break to eat and relax, for they had completely forgotten breakfast, and then Mayna glanced at her mom, who gave her a slight nod.
Mayna looked at Laeemryn and Gwyneth, “Can mom and I practice our shape shifting now? I’ve been looking forward to it all day. There are some new maneuvers I have been thinking about and would like to try in dragon form.”
Laeemryn and Gwyneth both looked at each other with identical grins, then back at a clearly hopeful Mayna. Laeemryn was the one who spoke, “Yes, child, you may go, but stay in the air space above the canyon, where we can see you, alright?”
Mayna jumped to her feet, her eyes whirling with excited color, “Oh thank you!”, then she gave them a radiant smile.
She reached down and grabbed her mom’s hand and pulled her from her comfortable position on the picnic blanket Gwyneth had conjured, “Come on, mom, time’s a’wastin’! Let’s go have some fun!”
Miriam got to her feet with a rather wry look at Laeemryn and Gwyneth, “You know I told her earlier how proud I was of how much she had grown up? Well, I am even prouder that in some ways she is still my little girl.”
Gwyneth reached up and gently touched Miriam’s hand, “You have every right to be proud of her, Miriam, and we all are also. Now, to use a phrase from your former world, scoot, go have some fun, you both deserve it”
With a smile, Miriam turned to her daughter, and with a slight nod, which brought a huge grin to Mayna’s face, they both shot skywards, changing form before they were even two feet above the ground.
While those on the ground watched, Miriam and Mayna flew and cavorted in the air above the canyon, changing back and forth as they did so, each change coming quicker and more smoothly.
And neither the observers on the ground, nor the two silver dragons were even aware that they were being watched by a pair unseen eyes…
Eyes that in turn were linked to one who stood, stiff with rage, gazing into a scrying bowl held by four demons carved from jet black marble.
And as Zelaeetha gazed down into the scrying bowl, her normal eyes were burning with fury as she watched the two silver eyed women switch back and forth to dragon form…
And she made a snap decision…she sent a mental command to that unseen watcher…
A command that was about to change two worlds forever.
As Miriam and Mayna played tag, they switched form back and forth, each change becoming more and more easy. Their dragon forms performed aerial ballet’s as they moved through the air above the canyon, totally spellbinding their viewers on the ground…
Viewers whose fascinated gazes turned to horrified ones as they watched, helpless, the events that occurred just as Miriam changed from dragon form to her own…
And was attacked and snatched right out of the air by a dark Aelkyn that appeared literally out of thin air the moment she regained her true form, grabbing her so jarringly that it loosened the golden circlet she always wore, which went plummeting to the ground to land not far from where the small group on the ground stood frozen in horror as they watched the events occurring in the sky above them.
And that Aelkyn that was not alone, but rather had four others with it, others that immediately appeared and headed straight after Mayna, who, after a heartbeat brief pause of shock at seeing her mother grabbed, had changed form and gone after her mother’s abductor.
Others that were about to learn to their cost that their attacking her mother had been a very, very bad move on their part.
The moment Mayna saw the dark Aelkyn grab her mother, she transformed back to dragon form and headed after the creature…
Only to find four others hot on her tail…literally, as those four were shooting blasts of searing flame at her.
She had no choice, she had to break off her pursuit of her mother’s abductor in order to deal with her four pursuers…
Which was exactly as Zelaeetha had planned it.
What she hadn’t planned…or counted on…was that the Aelkyn would grab Miriam instead of Mayna, its intended target…
Or that Mayna would be as strong as she was.
And so she could only watch in growing rage as Mayna destroyed all four of her pursuers with both ice and flame, then once more headed after the one carrying her mother…
Only to have it totally disappear right in front of her eyes…taking her mother with it.
And the observers on the ground watched as Mayna paused right where her mother’s abductor had been but mere seconds before, simply hovering there for long moments, her head whipping so wildly back and forth that even those on the ground could see the movement…
They watched as Mayna threw her head and neck back, then shot it forward, sending a huge geyser of flame into the sky as one single word blasted through the minds of every single one of them with enough force to nearly stun them…“MOTHER!”
And then they were all, even Aeleeth, Rhaemyth and Kharyth, nearly knocked to their knees by the wave of pure energy that blasted down from where Mayna hovered with such force that it shattered boulders nearly as large as she was that surrounded the area they had been eating in, then as she began to descend.
All at once they saw her turn her head a little, and then veer from her straight course to land about five feet from where they were all standing.
They watched as she regained her true form the moment she touched ground, and as she bent to pick something up, then to simply straighten and stand there as if frozen, her back to them, her hands clenched at her sides, her head thrown back as a wail echoed from the surrounding canyon walls that bespoke such grief and rage that even Kharyth, Rhaemyth and Aeleeth felt as if their hearts were breaking.
A stillness fell on the canyon, even the light breeze that had been blowing ceasing as if holding its breath.
And then Mayna spoke without even turning around, her voice hard, “Laeemryn, Gwyneth, please, come to me, we must talk. The rest of you, stay there.”
When Laeemryn and Gwyneth walked up to Mayna, they both saw the blood dripping from her tightly clenched hands…
One of which held the golden circlet her mother always wore.
Mayna did not turn to face them, but her words cut the air like knives, “I called you both here to tell you that you are to notify the entire refuge that they are to be gathered in the place where you performed the spell that changed mom and I as soon as we get back to camp. I will see to notifying the dragons myself. We will be performing the spell at precisely midnight tonight. You will then have two days to perfect learning to world walk…”
Mayna finally turned to face them and Laeemryn and Gwyneth were both shocked by the change in her, for whereas always before when she shifted from dragon form to her normal one, the shift was complete…
But not this time.
For the creature that turned to face them had eyes that whirled in a mad ever shifting chaos of colors and her skin now retained a faint hint of very tiny scales on not only her face, but her entire body.
And it was only then that they realized that her wings had also changed…they now resembled true dragon wings while retaining the shifting color of her former ones and her hands now resembled true dragon claws.
But what shocked Laeemryn and Gwyneth the most was that when Mayna opened her mouth to continue what she had been saying, they both saw the inch long razor sharp appearing canines and the slit pupils as she looked directly at them, “And the third morning we leave for Ihmaeera…for I know exactly where that beast was taking my mother…and to whom. Just before she disappeared, mom sent me one message…something she pulled from the Aelkyn who held her’s mind…the black palace.”
Mayna turned her eyes directly to Gwyneth, and when she spoke, her voice held a note of deadly purpose, “Gwyneth, I know how badly you hate your mother, how much you wanted to destroy her, but I tell you this right now…she is my kill…”
Mayna paused to glance between them, and neither of them was left in any doubt of the sincerity of her words when she continued, “And I will destroy any one or any creature, friend or foe, who get’s in the way. Now return to the others and tell them to pack up, we are heading back. I will go back on my own, as I need to stop and alert the Dracaelyn and Maethryn to all that has occurred. I will see you at the ceremony.’
Mayna turned and started to walk away, then she paused, turning her head slightly to speak over her shoulder, “Oh, and Gwyneth, you are to leave immediately after the ceremony and seek out that rhaethym you contacted once before. You are to tell it that I want to meet with it tomorrow night at midnight in the cave just outside the portal you brought mom and I through. I want to talk to it. Now go.”
And without another word Mayna leaped skyward, changing even as her feet left the ground…
Leaving a very stunned and concerned Laeemryn still staring after her for long moments after they could no longer see her.
Gwyneth turned towards Laeemryn and he was shocked to see the tears streaming down her face as she whispered, “Laeemryn, what are we going to do? I fear that she meant what she said, she will destroy any that get between herself and my mother. She has no idea just how powerful my mother is!”
Laeemryn reached out and gently lay his hand on Gwyneth’s shoulder, and his voice held an almost strange note of confidence, “Oh, my dear friend, it is not Mayna you should worry about right now…but your mother. For she just signed her own death sentence by her actions this day. Now come, we have much to do. Let us rejoin the others and head back to camp. I will call all there to the training field and then you and I can link and broadcast what has occurred this day. Two days will not be very long to learn a new talent, but we have no choice.”
And as they walked back to rejoin the others, Gwyneth was wondering to herself how in the world she was going to prepare Zaeeshyn for the changes in his much loved mate.