“I don’t understand?” I whispered, still lost to an immense sadness that I couldn’t even begin to explain. This girl was a stranger to me, yet somehow the thought of her loss reminded me of just how I’d felt on the day my mother died. Lost. So terribly alone in the vast, empty ocean of my grief.
The room gradually began to fill with incandescent light but I couldn’t bring myself to care, not with her still form lying prone before me.
The light grew and grew until at last I was forced to close my eyes against the intense glare. I could feel its warmth bathing my skin, soothing me with its rays. I felt the terrible sadness withdraw slightly from my heart and the tension at last began to leave my body.
A light breeze swirled up around me, teasing the ends of my hair and blowing them up around my face. I could almost feel the magic of it dancing over my skin.
It was the unmistakable pounding sound of a nearby waterfall that finally got me to open my eyes.
I gazed around in utter amazement. The emerald cave with its terrible secret was gone. In its place lay
A meadow of sweet lush grass, which bent slightly to the playful breeze. It was bordered on three sides by an unfamiliar forest of cedar, redwood and pine.
On the fourth side, tumbling down a mossy cliff of weathered grey stone, was the waterfall that I’d heard.
It wasn’t the majestic beauty of the falls that captured my attention though, but the young girl stood at its base, staring out across the rippling azure water.
I hesitated for a moment not wanting to intrude on her solitary reflection.
“It’s alright Amara. I’ve been waiting for this moment for five thousand years.” Despite the distance between us her voice was as clear as if she’d been standing beside me.
“One hundred and ninety nine generations of your people have come and gone as I watched millennia pass from the confines of my earthly prison.”
I could feel the myriad questions building on the tip of my tongue. I started walking toward her through the tall grass, heedless of the cool dew which soon saturated my moccasins and the legs of my buckskins.
The strangest thing happened as I made my way across that still, beautiful clearing. With every step that I took towards the girl she began to age. I don’t know to this day if it was merely my perception of her true form that was altering as I walked
or if she was actually physically shedding the illusion of her youth in the same way a butterfly sheds its cocoon. Was there even such a thing as the ‘physical’ in whatever realm this was?
To be honest, at first I hadn’t even noticed as the changes were so subtle. Subconsciously I think I just accepted that it must be the lessening distance between us that was simply allowing me to see her clearer.
By the time I’d crossed half the distance to her though, I couldn’t fail to see what was happening. Her youthful form had filled out and grown, morphing into that of a woman who looked closer to her mid twenties, far altered from the young girl I’d seen imprisoned beneath the vines.
At last I reached her side and found myself looking up into the face of a woman somewhere in her mid to late thirties. Her eyes were the same shade of ethereal violet as those of the Priestess but that was where the similarities ended. This woman’s eyes were noticeably missing the spark of humanity, like deep ageless pools of liquid amethyst.
I felt a flicker of the same fear I’d felt when faced with the vast power on the island, and in that moment I was certain that whoever this being was, she definitely wasn’t human.
She still felt so familiar to me, like somehow I should remember her but to my frustration the memory still remained just out of reach.
Reaching out a pale hand, she gently brushed a stray lock of hair from my face just as a mother would a child. I couldn’t help flinching slightly at the contact and the look of deep sadness, which bloomed in her alien eyes nearly drowned me in a wave of despair and regret.
“I’m so pleased to finally meet you Amara, daughter of Kochek and Princess to the Nacaguan people. Ziuni is the name your ancestors gifted me with millenia ago, and now that you are finally here, I have a very important task to ask of you.”