Chapter 2: New Faces and Revelations
Sweet smells filled the air, and the sound of many singing birds. Reya slowly opened her eyes. She felt as if she had been rammed by a dragon. She shot a quick glance around and took in her surroundings. Light streamed in gently from a small window. Beams of light illuminated the room she was in creating patterns on the wooden floor. The floor was made of a golden wood and the ceiling was white and smooth. There was beautifully designed furniture, covered with fine engravings. There was a large looking glass upon the wall and on the bureau there were perfume bottles, make-up, a brush, a comb, and many other trinkets. On her bedside table, beside a small oil lamp was a beautiful vase filled with wild flowers. The walls were pale pink, with a flower pattern painted on top. The bed she was laying in had soft cream-colored sheets with a floral pattern on them.
Reya attempted to sit up, but the pain from her injured shoulder chained her to the bed. She sighed deeply. Suddenly the door opened and a young man walked into the room. He was holding a tray in his hands, which had a plate of pancakes with a small pitcher of what appeared to be syrup. A bowl was also there, as well as a mug of some hot, steaming liquid. He looked like he was about nineteen years old. His hair was raven and he had blue-green eyes. He was tall and appeared to be quite strong. Reya might have considered him handsome if he was not human. He smiled warmly at her.
"Oh good," he said gently. "You're awake. You looked like you had taken quite a fall. I came across you when I was out in the woods, but you were unconscious. I brought you back to my house to treat your injuries. You were bleeding very badly. There were many bruises and cuts all over you. The worst injuries seemed to have happened to your right wrist and left shoulder. The rest were superficial wounds."
Reya stared blankly at him. She touched her left shoulder lightly and winced in pain.
"Who are you?" She murmured while attempting to sit up slowly again.
"My name is Reed." He said as he helped her up and placed some extra pillows behind her back.
"Well Reed," grumbled Reya, "You should have left me where I was. I would have been better off dead.
Reed shot Reya an upset and confused look.
"That can't be true." He said in a quavering voice. "Why would you ever say anything like that?"
Reya turned away. She could not stand to look at him any longer. "Please leave me alone." She whispered as tears began to form in the corners of her eyes.
Reed bit his lip gently. "Well, erm, I brought you some breakfast in case you're hungry. Oh yeah your unicorn is outside grazing with my horse in case you were worried about her." Reed placed the tray beside Reya and quietly left the room.
Reya raised an eyebrow in confusion. She quickly wolfed down the food, and shoved herself out of bed. Her shoulder and wrist stung horribly and she ignored her crave for the comfort of the bed. The many bruises and lacerations she had burned but she was driven on by her curiosity. Although her common sense suggested that it was probably just a ploy to get her out of bed she couldn't help but want to believe Reed.
She slowly trudged out of the bedroom and down a long hall. As she walked she peered into the many doorways. Each room was lavishly decorated and the sun's beams shone brightly in them. Reya continued walking until she reached the top of a large, winding staircase. She descended slowly, gripping the banister as tightly as she could. When she reached the bottom of the stairs she stared at the enormous circular room she had entered. It was brightly lit with sunlight, amazingly furnished, and a red oriental carpet covered the hardwood floor. There was a large door across the room from where she stood. She walked over to it and opened it slowly. Though the sunlight blinded her, she winced through it. She saw Reed stroking the muzzle of a winged horse, a large black stallion. Beside the stallion stood a white unicorn, its golden horn shining brightly in the sunlight. The unicorn rubbed Reed's shoulder with its muzzle. Reed laughed and rubbed the unicorn's neck.
Reya jogged over to them, her hair fluttering gently behind her. When she stood behind Reed, she confirmed what she thought the moment she had seen the unicorn. It was the same unicorn she had been trying to capture in the woods. She looked deeply in to its purple eyes.
"She was lying next to you when I found you." said Reed. He must have heard her footsteps because he had not turned around. He smiled sweetly, still rubbing the unicorn's neck. The dark horse grunted and Reed began to pet his muzzle again.
Reya stepped forward so she was now standing beside Reed.
"She is very beautiful." said Reed quietly. Reya could not tell who he was talking to. "But she is also very shy." Reed grinned at Reya as his messy raven hair blew in the gentle breeze. "So what is your unicorn's name?" asked Reed as he continued to stroke the dark stallion's muzzle.
"I don't know," murmured Reya. She could only stare in awe at the great creature in front of her.
"Why don't you ask her then?" asked Reed as he glanced over at Reya. Reya seemed surprised by this question. She had never heard of any elf talking to a unicorn.
"Here, give me your hand," said Reed as he held out an open hand to Reya. She stood there for about five minutes and then reluctantly gave Reed her hand. "Now keep eye contact with her." Reed said as he placed Reya's hand on the unicorn's neck. Reya rubbed the unicorn's neck but there was nothing except silence. "Ask her." Prompted Reed, as Reya stood there dumbfounded. All she could do was pet the unicorn.
Finally Reya asked, "What is your name?" Then Reya heard a voice inside her head. "My name is Windsong. Who are you?" The unicorn was communicating through telepathy! "I am Reya." Reya said in a quavering voice as she tried to calm herself. Reya asked, "Why did you save me?" Reya knew that unicorns were known for their amazing healing powers and she also knew that she could have easily died from the fall she had taken.
"I could hear you and you sounded like you were in a lot of pain. I tried to heal all your injuries but there were just too many. I was too weak to cure them all. Luckily Reed came along. He was the one who truly saved us." The unicorn said gently inside of Reya's head. "I was so very tired and you were injured very badly. I thought you were going to die."
Reya paused for a moment, glanced at Reed, then thought, "Can you hear what I'm thinking?"
"Yes," said Windsong inside Reya's head.
"Can he hear us? I mean, well, can he hear what I'm thinking?" Reya thought as she was staring at Reed. He was grooming the winged stallion. He was smiling and appeared to be saying something but Reya could not hear what he said. Reya was very frightened. It was as if she had gone deaf.
"Don't worry. You're not deaf. It's telepathy. It has the ability to mute out background noises. Reed cannot hear us. He isn't touching either of us. Besides, he's too busy talking to Duskrider."
Reya sighed in relief. "He's a very good person." said Windsong. She had noticed that Reya seemed to greatly dislike him. "You should really be more grateful."
"He is human and all they know is greed. They care not for the troubles of others. They only care about themselves." Thought Reya, the memories of the past plaguing her mind. Again she relived the pain and torment of lost love. No it was more than love that she had lost. She had lost the life she should have had. She fell down upon her knees, with her face buried in her hands. Reed ran to her side. He cradled her in his arms; his voice was still muted out by the telepathy. Reya could feel the world drifting away. She looked up and saw Reed crying. His tears fell gently upon her face and rolled down her cheeks. A great white fog began to roll in.
"Reya, you must survive. You are the true keeper of the light and you have been summoned." A voice said to her, but the voice was so far away. She again was plunged into darkness as she lost consciousness again.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
"Reya awoke in the darkness. She was alone in the world. "So this is death." She thought. A feeling of numbness and sadness had overcome her. She had died of heartbreak and yet she was still alive.
"Reya " whispered the darkness, "Reya, you must awaken, it is time." A woman emerged from the darkness. She had flowing orange hair and catlike gold eyes. Her skin was the color of a deer's hide. She had six tails and the ears of a fox. She wore a gown of icy green leaves. When she smiled her teeth were white like the newly fallen snow, her two canine teeth were small and pointed. She was beautiful and frightening. Reya had never seen a creature like her.
"I have awaited your coming for a long time. So you are Reya the Light Keeper." said the creature as she circled around Reya. The creature seemed to be sizing Reya up to see if she met her approval. Now she was face-to-face with Reya. Its golden eyes stared deep into Reya's, as if to peer into her soul.
"You are quite lovely, just as the scrolls foretold." The creature mumbled to herself as she placed one of her delicate hands underneath Reya's chin. She tilted Reya's head upward slightly to get a better look at her face.
"I am Fate and I know all about you." Said the creature while smiling sweetly. Reya let out a little huff in disbelief. Fate was not amused. She bared her teeth slightly and then frowned.
"You really shouldn't have skipped so many lessons little princess. They would have come in handy." Fate warned.
Reya was intrigued and frightened that she knew this.
"I know all that was, all that is, and all that is yet to be. Yet you the light keeper do not even know how important you are. For if you had even the slightest clue then you wouldn't waste your time mourning the loss of a stupid man. You would instead be searching for the eight warriors of light," hissed Fate, obviously enraged at Reya's ignorance to her vital role.
"It is too late to teach you how to be a proper savior so I will instead be kind enough to enlighten you on the situation at hand. The stone on your necklace, it is know to you as the light of Windbrook, which is used as an heirloom in the Royal family. To the rest of the world, though, it is much more, it is the star of power: a symbol that whoever wears it will be given whatever power they most desire. It is through you and through the stone that the future of the world will be determined. You must side with good or evil. Three of the warriors of light have already come to you. Their job is to protect you and aid you on your quest. You are the last hope for your world. A dark army is forming under a power-hungry queen. She knows that you hold the light and has already sent a dark knight to bring you to her. Protect our world. Do not allow her to lay her hand upon the light. If she does control the light it will be the end of the world and many will suffer and die. You must not fail." Reya nodded. She now understood the importance of this quest, not only for the elven people but for all the creatures of the free world.
"I must send you back now. It is time to start your journey. Good luck little princess. We will meet again." Fate turned around and vanished into the darkness and again Reya was alone.