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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Echo Journey {1::1}

This is the first part of Chapter One, of a new book that I'm writing. I'm planning on having two more books: Flaming Trail and Spirit Quest. If you have any questions or suggestions, comment or email me at My thanks in advance. Jadefireeyes

There was elegance in the blackest night,
Loveliness in the cruelest flame,
Charm in the loneliest sea,
Beauty in the evilest game.

Colors had refracted endlessly and brilliance flared, revealing the vibrancy within the great emptiness of galaxies. Portals had races by her, rimmed by a bluish luminance, the entrances to inhospitable places being permanently sealed: planets where the temperature was so hot that her bones would leap from her sockets from in shock, cold so supreme her blood would freeze in mid-circulation. The stars were but bright pieces of candy in various stages in their lives. The rays they emitted were from countless light years away, and some were florescent violet, others tinged with scarlet, still others gleamed white. A glittering dust had showered into the relentless pitch-black night of the universe, and their blinding faces shielded systems with conditions too harsh to harbor any secrets, all relics there destroyed.

Her hand tightened on her sheathed knife, the one on which she had put on a charm so it would remain undetected. No weapons were allowed inside the Pathway. And yet going without a blade was unthinkable, where it would help her in a number of tricky situations.

But just now in the dark she had felt a presence with her in the Pathway, when she knew she had entered it alone. Either someone had sneaked in with her – which she was sure hadn’t happened – or a creature had broken free from one of the other worlds. She foolishly hoped that the remnant of the magic could somehow protect her.

She thought of lions with retractable claws that ripped through flesh without ever touching the skin, birds that could kill her by just uttering a cry. She thought of hideous monsters past the human imagination that could be standing here, right behind her, creatures she could never fight against. The woman reached out to take her knife but in that initial moment the thing shoved her through a portal that came whizzing past. She fell into the unknown.

A silver bubble encased her as she descended slowly, a shimmering iridescent mass that floated through the sky, which gleamed blue and seemed to be oxygenated. This was more than she could have hoped for. She could have been suffocating in noxious atmospheric gases once the bubble broke.

Silently she traveled down, skimming amongst an updraft that blew past a mass of emerald fuzz that reached out into the horizon, clutching mounds of great rocks in the east. It was some kind of forest. The woman sailed down, down, past dappling crowns, the craft gracefully maneuvering precarious branches before settling on the foreign ground. The contraption sensed the slight shudder and shattered into spokes of now useless glass since its duty of protecting her on the journey here was finished.

The world was green. And since the harshest aspects of nature were considered beautiful, then this place was too. The damp forests were teeming with life; lush stalks of foreign ferns crowded the russet soil, and mist lingered in the air, silvery and pretty. Light filtered through the leaf canopy, melting dancing shadows within the undergrowth.

This planet, so far, was too good to be true. She warily glanced around the trees, searching for eyes glaring at hers from bark, or for limbs that oddly twitched, a dead sign that these woody beings moved. No, these trees seemed normal. She placed a palm near one of the trunks and was relieved that the air surrounding it wasn’t chilling, which meant they did not host ghosts inside their sap.

This planet even seemed to be in the correct dimension, a miracle. The woman had slurred the Chant in her haste to fly into Stargate, a star. It didn’t burn her, but instead delivered her into the Pathway. If you altered the smallest words in the entire elaborate ritual, you would still be able to access the portals, but that world would be… changed.

Once she fumbled and as a result all the colors were inverted. The sun had burned midnight black. The grass had been crimson. Later a thunderstorm had arrived, signaling it was about to release a torrent of rain by the stark white clouds. Over the years, people realized that if you knew what exact phrase to alter, you would reach the dimension you desired no matter what. A popular thing nowadays was the Shadow Dimension, where all the living things you brought back to your own plane could change from being a two-dimensional shadow to a solid, though jet-black animal at will. It was believed the dimensions were breaches into parallel universes bordering this one, which contained worlds almost identical to the ones here, but for a few perplexing variations.

If you completely messed up the chant, and went into Stargate you would no longer be immune to its wrath. You would be engulfed by the nuclear reactions. No one understood what the chant meant, for it was a fragment of an ancient language, but each syllable ringed with power. It was a mystery, as well as many of the magical rites and banes they had inherited. Their entire society was built upon the art of technology compromising with magic.

But other things could be waiting out here. And that thing could have somehow gotten into this world, which was absurd because it wouldn't be allowed a bubble if it was not a human. The fall would have certainly killed it. Still, she decided to watch out.

Something crunched twigs in the distance. She jumped, and tore out of there, towards the direction where it was lighter.

Neighboring pines were coated in trembling droplets. A dead tree added brown to the green elegant mass, a group of slender silhouettes. She brushed her hand tenderly and briefly over its empty husk, before sprinting out of the forest to escape from possible danger. Perhaps the tree was struck by a fatal bolt of lightning, shattering its life force. It did not matter now; delicate ivy had long since crept up the deceased trunk, spreading tendrils through the branches that would grow leaves no more. For now the ivy had blossomed small white flowers. The woman could imagine rich berries beading through its foliage instead come summer, promising a new generation of seeds.

The trees gave way to a yawning chasm, opening between two rock formations. They allowed various vegetation to span the length of their weathered faces; a frothing spring flowed gracefully from the hurtling cliffs, spraying a cool, vernal cloud of arched rainbows, and providing the moisture for the chain of verdant meadows below. Carpets of brilliantly hued wildflowers flourished, vividly contrasting against the granite profile of the mountains. A dramatic sunset domed above, tinting the skies with a muddy violet.

She always had a fierce devotion to forests, but this one was the most pristine yet. There was a tantalizing quality of having a beautiful landscape coupled with untouched woods. The spraying natural fountain springs cheerfully to kiss the land and that pale, feathery green canopy of trees mingles with the harsh color of this exotic blue sky. She was used to an emerald sky.

It was an ideal place. Her loving gaze swept the landscape once more, stretching to the brink of the horizon: Meadows sprawled like jewel-capped eyes dotted with violet, pink, yellow and white wildflowers. Dainty grasses swayed idly in the breeze. A shifting patchwork of clouds weaved through the sky, framing a brook hosting hordes of frogs and other aquatic life. Fish darted through the rippling water like darts of silver, providing the sufficient entertainment for a cub playing in the rapids. He kept obediently close to his mother bear.

They glanced curiously as she passed, and quickly lost interest in the human in their midst. This ran a shiver down her back. A person had never stepped here before, because they were unafraid.

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