It’s a goal in my life to travel to all the wonders of the known world. Each one offers something unique, and I plan on experiencing all seventeen. From the floating isles of Hardiff, to the hanging temple of Jo Goth–and those in between: Platimenia, the city at the edge of the world; the giant Edith Statues that dominates the Milana Mountains; and the Carepen Gates, the massive structure that spans a continent. I’ve been to the Tolk Mushroom forest, to the unusually sized shells at Seashell Cove, and to the Balancing Pillars at Fare Caolan, but there are so many others I long to see, and new wonders I long to discover.
– Iolian Yosef, Wanderer
I’m miffed. The sun’s going to come up in a couple of minutes or so, and my stupid guests aren’t going to be up to see my magic show it looks. I use my perception to wander around my domain a few minutes more, occasionally having Niko nudge them to see if they’ll wake, then reluctantly give up. How someone can sleep so long, I’ll never know.
I glance at them once more, then gather all the ice around my core. I want to see everything with my own eyes. I take a deep breath, and then I surge. Like a tidal wave, a geyser even, I burst out of the ground surrounded by ice. The sun peeks out from the horizon at that moment, reflecting off the prisms in the ice. Everything sparkles, and it hits me harder than the magical underwater world. An overwhelming feeling of nostalgia assails me.
I’ve lost something. I stare at the sun, slowly growing higher using my ice, the massive pillar already dozens of feet above the ground. The hole in my heart only grows wider as I realize for the first time, I don’t belong here. This was never my world. I look up at the stars that are beginning to fade with the sunrise, searching desperately for home. Which star was mine. Where did I live? What was my life like before I was stolen away? Was there anyone there that longs for me? Do they long for me like I long for them? Is it possible to miss something you don’t even remember?
There’s nothing here to answer my questions except the sun glinting off the ice for miles and miles. I am an alien to this world. My home, far away and out of reach. The sun flares even brighter and the feeling I had down in that underwater world returns in force, the sadness banished from my mind. I will rise like this sun, shine over everything on this planet, and make a world like it has never seen before. If I can’t go back to a home I can’t remember, I’ll just make my own and thrive like no one’s ever seen before.
For an instant, I see it. My domain spreading for miles and miles on this unforgiving terrain, budding with life and people. I grin, my ice pillar reaching 300 feet into the air. I pause for a second, gathering more ice around me in a bulb on top of the pillar. Movement on the ground catches my attention. Ah’m and Nattiq are up and outside my caves below, standing on the open ice and staring at my pillar rising in the sky. I smile again.
Here goes to the first step. I take another breath and then burst outward. Huge offshoots of ice strain out from the enormous bulb of ice atop the pillar. I branch them. I branch them again and again and again, over and over, intertwining them in a similar way to my roots down below. I branch them until they become so thin, they turn into |ice silk| drifting in the wind, so long that when they float down from their sudden growth, they brush the ground. I pull at some of the little beads quickly forming on the |ice silk|, shaping them into long thin leaves thickly decorating my swaying branches, then make everything glow with |aura of light|.
I pause cover the whole construction with my influence and then to take a look at my handiwork. A slight breeze causes my branches to sway and rustle, drifting to and fro like those underwater jellyfish. It’s calming. I can almost smell the green. It smelled of life. Ah, |aura of souls|.
It felt like a breath, |aura of souls|. I gathered the aura together, tightly winding it and compressing it, filling it with thoughts of life and growing, thoughts of a teeming forest, damp and fresh after the rain, and when I was ready, I released it like a breath into my massive ice tree. And the tree breathed it in. It rustled and moved and came alive. It was a simple life, even more so than a true plant, but it was alive nonetheless. (more…)