Aretherra Volume One – ÆDIXS CænctoruM
Tryn In ÆDIXS CænctoruM
Tryn opened her eyes and saw a different and strange world surrounding her. Instinctively she squeezed her eyes shut and opened them again, a feeble attempt to test the reality of her vision. Nothing changed, but somehow was augmented at second glance. It was a place existing beyond her imagination, filled with spectacle and mystery. Mr. Fisher was gone, or rather she had left him somehow. Everything was gone, she had left the village, it’s people and the horrors she experienced there. Finally observing herself, she noticed that her appearance had completely changed as well.
She was wearing an off white, almost taupe-colored button down blouse, made from unbelievably soft material, more supple and smooth than she had ever touched, let alone wore before. Tryn caressed her sleeve between her fingers while she took stock of the rest of her outfit. Her pants matched the blouse, both in color and material, just as comfortable as her top. She also wore open toe sandals, which were a great relief, given the work boots that became a staple working for Mr. Fisher, another from his wife’s wardrobe. The sandals were very comfortable and for the first time she wore shoes that actually fit her perfectly. All of Mr. Fisher’s wife’s shoes were too tight, but Tryn never once complained or was anything but grateful for his charity. Her only qualm with the new sandals was the piece of material wedged between her two largest toes, it was uncomfortable and she could do without this part feature.
“Hello Tryn, it’s nice to see you again.” A disembodied female voice called out from the hidden depths of the underbrush. Tryn spun around, searching for a voice that was familiar, yet sounded foreign springing up from her recent memory.
“ Welcome to Aedixs Canctorum, we’re glad you’re here. We have much to discuss, please come with me.” While the lady spoke, Tryn searched a nearby stand of trees for any sign of the voice and finally caught a glimpse of her when she finished speaking. Much to Tryn’s surprise, it was not the old woman from the cave speaking to her. Instead, it was a devastatingly beautiful young woman, who looked only a few years older than herself. Tryn stood unmoving and silent, waiting for answers to come.
The woman stepped forward and pushed back the hood of her cloak until her entire head was revealed. “Hello again young lady. I pray that you are well. I know it has been some time for you since we last spoke. I know that recent times have been very challenging for you and I hope that you were not harmed by those villagers.” She smiled at Tryn hoping to quell some of the anxiety she sensed pouring off from her expressions and resolute silence.
Her voice was exactly the same as the woman from the cave. Her expressions, speech patterns, and mannerisms were just like the very old woman from the cave. So how was this possible? Tryn asked herself. Her only answer was to question her own eyes and by extension, her own sanity again. Tryn turned and began her retreat from the possibility of conversation with this woman. Only moments ago, she was chained to a pole and came very close to being burned alive, executed for nothing more than being herself. Tryn was so far from being well, of sound mind or able to process this encounter, that she shook her head and began to laugh and cry while she walked away from the woman.
Tryn followed a path that ran next to the closest of many rolling hills in this area. It meandered along a small pond, whose water was eerily calm and unmoving. A wooden dock jet out from the shore, over the glass-like water and Tryn found herself at it’s end, looking down at her reflection looking back at her. A tear dripped from her lashes, she watched as it fell in slow motion and finally hit the surface of the water below causing tiny concentric ripples from the center of her mirror image, before dissipating into her hairline. Tryn’s mind was so entirely jumbled, so clouded by her fear and doubt, she gave it no more thought.
Tryn needed time and she needed space. She needed to process what happened to her, not just in the village, but everything she had been through since she awoke. Because of this, Tryn was thankful for her current surroundings, thankful for the pond, dock, even the grassy hills and for especially ford this moment to catch her breath. She stared out across the water, silent and unmoving, an apt reflection of her state of mind. She had escaped into herself, diving below the surface of her consciousness, she was not cognizant of the passing of time or of the space around her for a while. Tryn remained absorbed in her reality until darkness overtook her and enveloped her completely.
The morning sunlight warmed Tryn’s face, she turned over and faced inaway from the window to hide her face from the cascading beams shining through the window pane. Tryn wanted to sleep forever, to forget everything she had been through and melt away into nothingness. Unbeknownst to her, life, or rather destiny had other plans in store for Tryn.
The sound from two considerate knocks on the bedroom door pulled her from the edge of sleep. The woman entered and quietly walked across the floor toward the bed where Tryn laid. She knew the woman was standing near the bed watching her, but she pretended to be asleep and remained as still as she knew how. Tryn wanted nothing to do with this woman, Auriga, if that was her real name. Tryn did not even know if it was the same woman from the cave, or simply an imposter pretending to be her. Whatever the story, whoever this woman was, she didn’t care, at least not right now.
Tryn wanted to toss aside her covers, jump out of bed and push and shove this woman. She wanted nothing more than to remove this intruder, this violator of privacy, this infiltrator, invader, and interruptor, from the room with with extreme prejudice. She wanted to hurt the woman, physically harm her with any and all means at her disposal. If the ends justified her means of violence, this was acceptable, this seemed normal, at least right now. A fire rose up from her core, a roaring bursting and burning anger, coming up so hot and fast that it scared Tryn. Who was she becoming, who was she now, who would think this way? From the deepest, most sacred regions of her soul, Tryn had always, truly believed she was a good person. But as she laid there, peeking through her eyelashes at the wall, still pretending to sleep, still attempting to avoid the woman staring at her, Tryn felt a strange and sudden sense of peace sweep over her mind and body.
While she had no clue as to where these sudden urges came from, Tryn was relieved that they had passed. Tested by temptation, it happened so fast, once moment the urge of violence, in the next moment she passed. What remained after feeling this way was as concerning as the feelings themselves. Tryn asked herself again, who was she now? How could she think this way? This woman had done nothing to deserve such animosity, or even scattered thoughts and urges of violence. Quite the opposite, she had been gracious and kind, thoughtful and generous. Was this the person that Tryn was now? Someone who would do bad things to good people?
These questions plagued her mind, so much so that Tryn began to softly cry, giving away the fact that she wasn’t sleeping. However, as with the woman in the cave, Tryn would soon find that this woman privy to just about everything.
“Why do you cry?” The woman asked in a soft and caring voice. Tryn opened her eyes, tears traveled downward toward the right of her face, dampening the pillowcase where she lay.
“Like you don’t know.” Tryn responded quietly, with an edge of defiance.
“I do know, you’re right, but I want you to tell me.” The woman said to Tryn.
“I, I am afraid. Afraid of so much, most of all myself.” Tryn confessed tearing up again. She covered her face with her hands, attempting to hide beneath them, seeking cover and wanting solitude.
“Believe it or not, I understand more than you’ll ever know. I want to help you Tryn. It’s why I brought you here, it’s why I saved you and have given you this opportunity to begin again.” The woman sat on the bed and placed her hand on Tryn’s shoulder. So much had changed in so little time. Tryn didn’t resist her outreach, but actually welcomed it. She was lost and alone. She had been for a long time, ever since she awoke in the orbiting medical pod.
“Can you help me?” Tryn asked as she uncovered her face and wiped the remaining tears from her eyes.
“That is why you’re here with me now. I am going to help you and as I said to you in the cave, you will do great things. Tryn, you must believe in yourself. You will be victorious, a powerful, great and wonderful woman someday. Even more than you are now.” Tryn stopped to consider her words, each one slowly being processed through her thoughts, until one finally caught up with her.
“So you are Auriga? But how is that possible?” Tryn sat up next to her on the bed, legs crisscrossed as children sometimes do.
“Tryn, you’ll find that with my appearance, like this entire place where you are now, so much is seen as you intend to see it.” Auriga smiled and continued. “I have brought you to a place where not many mortals have been before. We are in Aedixs Canctorum. Have you ever heard of it?”
“No I have not. Where is it located on the planet? Is it near the village of Rivedoux?” Tryn inquired most innocently, but ignorantly.
“Yes and no. Yes, in a way Aedixs Canctorum is near everything, the planet of Aretherra, the seas and land, and yes even the village where you were before here. However, Aedixs Canctorum is unlike any other place you have ever been and will ever go in the future. It exists in the spiritual plane, outside of space and time as you know it. Because this place does not adhere to the rules and constructs of the physical world, I can look like this to you now, when I looked very different when we last met.” Auriga could see the doubt and questioning in Tryn’s face while she spoke. “Do you understand?” She asked, prepared to repeat or explain more if needed.
“Yes, I understand.” Tryn lied. Auriga knew she didn’t, but forgave her anyway.
“I can see that you’re having some trouble either believing some of this, or accepting it as the truth. I swear to you that it is true and I can make you believe as well.”
Auriga stood up and moved away from the bed. The way she moved from the edge of the bed where she sat, to where she stood now, Tryn marveled at the graceful, ghost-like smoothness of her movements. As if she wasn’t walking at all, as if she was floating an inch from the floor. Tryn smiled to think that even Auriga walking had to be strange and wonderful, like every other facet of this place. If snakes could fly, Tryn thought. She laughed to herself at such a silly notion.
With her arms held up in front of her, Auriga began to move her hands, bending her fingers and forming strange and intricate patterns, like she was speaking an alien sign language in an unknown dialect. After the first few patterns, the air around her hands began to glow. Ribbons of pale pink light followed each movement she made. Auriga’s eyes remained fixed upon an unknown horizon, somewhere over Tryn’s shoulder, but when Tryn looked where Auriga was looking, she could see nothing more than a blank section of wall. Clearly Auriga was transfixed, utterly immersed and consumed with her actions. She was moving her hands so fast that it took less than a minute for something to come of her efforts.
Below her feet, a jagged glowing ring expanded out from where she stood, dead center of the room. The ring steadily grew, consuming the floor in it’s wake, like a burning hole in a piece of paper, but leaving behind a field of white. Tryn didn’t know if she should remain sitting on the bed, or get up and move somewhere. But before she could make up her mind, it was too late and the change had consumed the entire room. The snowy blanket of white consumed everything as the glowing ring tracked alone every surface, section and corner of the room, until nothing was left but white. Before Tryn’s amazed gaze at the impossible, the walls, door, bed and sunlite window disappeared, leaving nothing but white space surrounding them both.
Auriga stood next to Tryn, her hands pressed together and held against her breast, as if she was praying. She lowered her arms and looked at Tryn with a thoughtful smile.
“You see, this is not the reality you thought it was. But please, don’t let that alarm you, because you were meant to be here. Some day both of you may be able to come here at will.” Auriga began walking into the white abyss, with Tryn trailing behind, still in disbelief.
“That was amazing! You haven’t said where we are, what is this place called?” Tryn asked, both of them slowly walking both to and from nothing. From Tryn’s perspective, there was nothing surrounding them. All she could see was a featureless void, as if she had been reborn and baptized in pure cream. The comparison made Tryn smile again. “Is this Cream Land?” She couldn’t help herself.
“No, this is not Cream Land.” Auriga responded with a little laugh. It was the first time that Tryn had heard her laugh, ever.
“What is this place? If we’re not still on Aretherra, than where are we?” Tryn was begging for answers at this point, she had to know.
“I told you, this is Aedixs Canctorum. I am Aed. From your point of view, this would be considered our home.” Auriga tried to explain. Tryn was perplexed at the entire idea. What was this magic? Could this place be real, or was she dreaming again?
“If this is a place that exists outside the physical world that I’ve known, how am I able to be here? Have I died? Have I passed on to the next life?” Tryn asked hesitantly, but she had to know if she was lying dead back in the village, if the fire had really burned her alive after all.
“No, you were not killed by the fire. In fact, your body has been safely laid in a secret place where it will remain untouched until we send you back.” Auriga assured her. Tryn sighed with relief.
“Send me back where?” Tryn asked.
“We are sending you to the capital city of Sutekh-Navois, where he has been for many of his years. Soon he will need you more than ever, more than he could ever imagine. To overcome the trials and survive the dangerous journey, you will need each other’s strength. Only together will you triumph over who is coming in the days ahead. This is vital. This is everything. Find him, help him, and stay by his side.” Auriga pleaded with her. Tryn had no time to think or respond. She opened her mouth to ask who she was talking about, this him, this person she had mentioned since the cave.
Seconds after Auriga proclaimed Tryn’s mandate, Tryn felt a heavy weight pulling her body down. Tryn felt Aretherra’s gravity on her physical body again. She breathed in deep and began to cough several times, as her lungs had not been used, or had drawn a breath in a while. How long was she in that place? Asked Tryn of herself. She felt the cold, hard surface beneath her body and the back of her head. It was black as night, and there was little difference seen when she opened her eyes to her restored physical reality. To her left a sliver of light could be seen, the smallest gap between two doors, which stood across the span of a twenty by twenty-foot room. Where was she?
Tryn made her way through the darkness, feeling and grasping large flat stone surfaces along the way. When she arrived at the doors, she pushed them open and found that it was nighttime outside. Several nearby lampposts illuminated the area and spread enough light back into the room behind her to allow her to turn and see where she had been laying. It was a crypt. She had been putting on a stone coffin at the far end of the room. The irony was striking. Tryn smiled, thinking back to moments before when she was still in Aedixs and had asked if she had died.
Tryn could hear the sound of the ocean just beyond the furthest treeline of the small cemetery. It was a little burial ground, surrounded by exotic trees, plants and a dizzying array of multi-colored flowers. She turned back to the crypt one last time before setting off. There was no family name, only a symbol, one she had seen before when in the portal room. Tryn could not see beyond the treeline past the edge of the clearing and tombstones. It was too dark, too dense, only too much jungle in all directions to observe any possible landmarks or buildings. She made her way toward the center of the cemetery, where she would decide on which direction in which she would venture, the sound of waves was pulling her, taking her by the hand to a place she had recently grown to love.
Since that day, when she first arrived on Aretherra, Tryn loved nothing more than the ocean. She felt as if it knew her by name, long before she knew her name. No words could describe how the sea ambushed of all of her senses with something so primal, yet blissful. The metered rhythm of the waves, always pulled by an unseen force in a direction they set not themselves. Tryn could sympathize.
Tryn hoped that the Aed had put her in this place for a reason. But as she made her way across the cemetery, using the sound of the waves to guide her, she had to follow her path, having faith that the reason would present itself. Tryn walked into the trees and was swallowed by the surrounding jungle, wrapped in shadow cast from the tall canopy above. A loud commotion, harsh yelling and loud voices came from somewhere aways off through the trees, off to her left. She stopped, suddenly knowing which direction was right. Tryn turned away from the call of the ocean and sprinted away towards her destiny.
She set out to find this boy, finally accepting her destiny, she ran into the jungle.