My foot touched down on the crystalline sand and I staggered forward as the presence which I’d felt, standing on the other shore, swelled and intensified.
It felt like an enormous weight pressing down upon me. This was nothing like the barrier spells we’d passed through to get here. It was nothing like anything I’d ever felt before. Somehow though, it still felt familiar to me. It made me think of the one and only time I’d seen the ocean which lay far to the west of my village.
After a life spent living within a small scattering of clearings, pressed in on all sides by dense jungle, the oceans vastness was impossible to comprehend. It was a thing of incredible beauty and I’d marveled at it’s shining turquoise expanse, but at the same time I couldn’t help also feeling a kind of fear at the sheer deadly power contained within its awe inspiring immenseness.
I heard Solen draw in a sharp breath behind me as he too felt the heft of the ancient power that resonated in this place.
“Please, come.” The Priestess beckoned us to follow her as she left the shore and began to climb the natural crystal staircase which circled up the right hand side of the emerald crag that rose before us.
For a moment, I wasn’t sure that I could move at all under the weight of all that power. Gritting my teeth in determination I took first one tentative step, then a second, surprised to find that despite the perceived pressure my movement seemed unaffected.
The Priestess was already nearing the top of the stair, and as Solen too had started to climb, I hurried to catch up with them. I wished that I could take the time to admire the amazing green crystals beneath my feet but a part of me also hoped that we wouldn’t have to linger in this strange place any longer than absolutely necessary.
The last step was taller than the rest and Solen held out his hand to help me up the rest of the way. As I reached out to place my hand in his, I wondered why it was we could touch so easily now? I was starting to think it might not only be the effects of the Priestess’ herbal tea.
It was certainly possible that the inherent magic of this strange otherworldly place was somehow drawing my spirit that little bit closer to the living world. Either that or it was somehow Solen’s spirit which was being drawn closer to the spirit realm.
The sudden thought shot a jolt of fear through my heart but it was eclipsed a moment later when our fingers finally touched and a flash of blinding energy shot through my body like white hot lightning.
Everything seemed to slow down as my wide eyes met Solen’s shocked gaze, then the moment passed and I felt myself falling, teetering backward towards the edge of the steep rock face and the desert of sharp crystals waiting below.
Solen’s grip tightened again then and with a sharp tug he pulled me back up the step and into his waiting arms.
We clung there like that for a long moment gasping in shuddering breaths, hearts pounding in time. What in all of Gaia was that? I pulled back from Solen’s embrace intending to ask the Priestess if she to had felt it but before I could she began to speak.
“Two shall set forth, true of heart, returning as one to mend that which lies broken.” Her words resonated strangely off of the walls of the cavern, and the crystals at our feet began to vibrate. Solen and I both watched on in wonder as the seemingly solid wall of crystal before us began to slide open. With a smooth grating sigh, the crystalline points pulled back sinking into the ground before us, forming a new staircase which looked to descend right down into the very heart of the island.