Aretherra Volume One | Finding Aero Part 2

If anyone knows a good book editor…

My character Tryn is dedicated to my daughter Ayden Ruby Elizabeth Gardner.

Ayden’s inner strength is ALWAYS my inspiration when writing chapters about Tryn’s adventures!

Eric Lee Gardner

12.19.18
NEW: Before Aero reaches the royal family before Tryn shows up…
The Vyst have them surrounded, save for the great pit.
Five of The Vyst have formed a pentagram ABOVE them and the pit and formed a cooperative dark portal, so flying up is NOT an option. Another FIVE of The Vyst are also floating ten feet down inside the PIT, so any attempt to use the pit as an escape, or should one or all of them fall into the pit, would also mean certain death.

The Vyst have surrounded the pit and are approaching the family from the front. One-touch from any of the Vyst would send one or all of them into another dimension, where they would most likely be trapped forever or DEAD.
The King and Queen are using their powers to hold off the Vyst, but this is a temporary measure and it is only a matter of time before they can hold off the Vyst.
This is when Aero enters the scene and the King takes a bold stance to save his sons and Aero. After he disappears into a Vyst portal, now the Queen is trying to save all of them. The Queen’s efforts fail and she disappears.
Aero and Sirann and Sveinnus are left and will soon perish like the King and Queen.
This is when TRYN enters and fights the Vyst and saves everyone.

Revision:
Aero: What he’s like now and compared to childhood self. Replaced childhood sadness with a quest for revenge. looks for substitutes for lacking powers. frustrated by the inconsistency of his ability to manifest powers
ZWolf: confident, secretive
Sirann: optimistic
Svainnus: brooding
King Svainn:
Queen Qjenaphir:



FINDING AERO PART II
ZWOLF-VYST-TRYN

Moments after Aero was released from being held in a dark and inescapable room for hours, he had been brought out into the bright light of day, marched across the grass, and was standing before a quaint table and chairs in the middle of a lush garden. Aero’s hands were then freed from his restraints and he was forced into a sitting position. It was a metal chair of some kind, and his feet were still touching the grass. The cloth sack was quickly removed from Aero’s head and as his eyes grew accustomed to the bright light, Aero took this chance to scan the area for any immediate threats. As usual, his empty stomach dictated which surroundings to which truly concentrate are surveillance. He was sitting before a round, white-cloth-covered table, laid out with an assortment of foods and all of the needed fine dishes for service. A large crystal vase with two wine goblets rested in the middle. The vase held a cold dark drink of some kind, which Aero surmised because of the water droplets gathered about its base. The grand vista of tables made Aero’s eager stomach growl with anticipation. A small chuckle made Aero finally take notice of the landscape of possible people in his immediate vicinity.

There was only one person and he walked to Aero’s left, grabbed the vase, and poured two measures of the dark liquid into the goblets. After placing one before Aero, he rounded the table and sat on the other side. He was taller than Aero, standing around six feet, and not heavy, or overweight, but broad. He was the sort that was always in danger of needing to punch an extra hole in his pants belt. The man had a well-groomed goatee of black hair. His clothes looked like an invented style, crossed between cowboy and military soldier. On his head was a black round-brimmed hat, holding down long platinum blond hair trying to escape. The man held up his glass and smiled.

“Cheers.” Said the man as a greeting and a formality.

Aero hesitated but copied him in the end. “Cheers.”

“My friends call me ZWolf. But my real name is, ZWolf.” ZWolf smiled, clearly amusing himself.

“Is this the time when I’m supposed to tell you who I am?” Aero replied, put down his glass, and crossed his arms in defiance. Aero thought about how this guy thinks he can keep him prisoner and then march him out to be smoothed over by some niceties. So no, Aero wasn’t going to tell this guy anything about himself.

After taking a long draw on his drink, ZWolf put his goblet down and placed his clasped hands on the table in front of him. ZWolf smiled and said, “I know who you are. You’re Aero, the orphan who ran away to the city the night his parents were killed. After living on the streets, you were taken in by the Vysu royals, who became a shiny new family for you. How am I doing? Did I miss anything?” ZWolf smiled and took another sip of his drink. Aero sat and pondered what to do, what to say next. How could this man know so much about him? Why?

“Why? Yeah, that sums up everything in one word, why.” Aero looked off to his right, observing the details of the garden. For the first time, he noticed the large chiseled statues standing among the flowers and shrubs on the outskirt of the grass where they sat. His eyes passed by ZWolf without actually seeing him and then Aero noticed where the grass ended and sand began. As if awakening his sense of hearing, he noticed the distant rumble and roar of continuous waves crashing on a beach. Aero loved the sound of the waves more than almost anything. The revelation that he was sitting near the ocean made Aero smile. For this, he felt strange, almost guilty, but this smile was not for ZWolf, for him he had contempt. Aero slowly moved his gaze in the direction of ZWolf once again, waiting for the answer to his question.

“You’ll have to help me here, you ask why? What do you want to know?” ZWolf replied in a pleasant manner, not at all aggravated by Aero’s question or attitude.

“Fine. First of all, why me? I’m no one, I’m nobody. Why did you captured me and kept me, prisoner? Why would you do this? I mean, who does this? But seriously, why me?” Aero’s heart rate was elevated during his rant of questions, so he finally took a sip of the dark cold drink. To his surprise, the drink was extremely delicious and sweet. ZWolf continued to quietly laugh, but he restrained himself from any more than this, not wanting to disrespect Aero. He wouldn’t let the pleasant drink sway him from keeping a straight face, that bordered on the stern, with a hint of anger. ZWolf gained his composure and looked at Aero as if searching for something hidden beneath the surface of his face.

“I have kept you here as my guest because that was what I was paid to do. I do not do anything if not for money. Occasionally I’ll do a job to gain power or influence, but even then, it’s still all about the money. My employers expect, no demand, excellence from every job I perform. When I was tasked with your job, I had to look into you, your past, and who you were. You’re right, you are quite unremarkable.” ZWolf paused and stared at Aero as if taking a measure of his response to that last statement regarding how unremarkable he was. Aero didn’t give an inch, mainly because he too believed he was unremarkable.

“I agree. What’s your point? Wait! Did you say that someone hired you to capture me and hold me, prisoner?” Now Aero was smiling, on the verge of laughter. “That’s preposterous!” They both began laughing together.

“I know! That’s what I said when I found out who you were.” Their laughter died off after ZWolf said this. Aero looked to where the trees began at the edge of the garden. He knew that somewhere beyond that stand of island jungle was the beach. The ever-churning, crashing rhythm of the waves pounding the sand called to him, but the song of the waves were far too timid to be close by. Because of this, he knew the ocean’s edge was a considerable distance from where he sat, however, the shimmer of the reflected sun, tossing shards of light onto the edge of the garden’s treeline, made him think that the water was closer than it sounded. Whatever the case may be, he wanted nothing more at this moment than to escape and run to the sea. As Aero turned back to face ZWolf, he turned his thoughts again to the reality of their shared moment. As Aero became mindful of their conversation, trying his best to push aside notions of taking flight, he thought he heard ZWolf say something under his breath, and it sounded like ‘If only you knew,’ but he was unsure.

“What did you say?” Aero asked and ZWolf shook his head, partly to deny saying anything and partly because he was surprised that Aero heard him say something in the first place. Moving on, Aero continued, “I want to know who paid you to capture me?” Zwolf poured himself more drink and took a long draft before answering.

“That is one question that I can not answer. I offer my clients the utmost discretion when they hire me. If a job is to remain anonymous and must adhere to the strictest codes of secrecy, then I will take those secrets to the grave. I will say that, if you ever found out, you would not believe it. It would make you question everything you thought you knew.” ZWolf placed his glass down, reached for the food, and began to fill his plate with an assortment of the gourmet items from the table. He tossed a couple of grapes into his mouth and while chewing with his mouth open, continued, “Don’t worry about today. My instructions were not to have you killed. I’m not an assassin, plus, you have a lot of time left and a lot to accomplish before you die. Believe me, about all of this kid, I have it on good authority that while you may not be ‘remarkable’, to some belief in a future where you will become exceptional.”

“Honestly, I can’t imagine. Besides, what does all of that even mean? Are you messing with me? Seriously, what crackpot did you consult to arrive at such delusions? I’m beginning to believe that this is all a big prank, played by my friends, all for their amusement. But I don’t find this funny, especially considering where we sit at this very moment.” In total seriousness, Aero pointed to where they were.
“Do you mean this lovely garden or my gated compound? Are my accommodations not pleasant? Have I not been a generous and hospitable host?” ZWolf asked, dismissing Aero’s serious tone with an air of humor. Aero ignored ZWolf’s latest attempt at getting a rise from him. He knew what he did, being locked away and restrained for hours, some host. While he was sure that ZWolf did know of who he spoke and must have understood his concerns about the Vyst people; Aero glared at ZWolf and continued to explain his meaning nonetheless.

“These islands are home to the Vyst. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the Vyst are powerful and dangerous. I can’t believe you’ve made your home here, sorry, your compound.” Aero replied in a most serious tone. He wasn’t kidding about the Vyst. As Aero looked to the treeline again, thinking of the ocean just beyond the shimmer it cases his way, he thought about how he, like most kids who grew up on Aretherra, knew the Vyst by reputation only. Their reputation alone was enough to make kids everywhere have nightmares about the Vyst lurking in the shadows of their bedrooms at night. Frightening stories of children being snatched from their beds, were shared and told over and over, throughout the land.

Most believed that the Vyst would take a child, as they slept and then they were never seen again. At every house, the doors and windows were locked and latched, no one was seen and no physical evidence was left behind. Rumors and whispers constitute the only evidence known to exist in these cases. In rare instances, siblings and parents saw shadows of tall cloaked figures, wrapped in flowing robes, as they glided across the bedroom floor. While no actual instance of a corporeal description was ever shared by the families haunted by these Vyst sightings, rumors prevailed among the masses. Although most of the tales, usually shared as scary campfire fodder, have been dismissed as xenophobic calumny.

“This is true, the Vyst can be dangerous and they are very powerful. Most people are frightened by them as well. I believe they are misunderstood and not the source of evil in our world, as so many of the ignorant believe. I’ve made a lucrative agreement with the Vyst, a benefit to us both, plus I am allowed to keep my residence here, one of many that I own in other countries around Aretherra, and they agreed to stay away. So I’m safe here, you’re safe. Believe me, while you’re my guest, you won’t even see a Vyst, let alone being threatened or hurt by one.” ZWolf’s words opened up as many new questions, as he had gotten answers. He felt torn. Half of him liked this man and to his disbelief, actually wanted to trust him. But the other half had legitimate reason not trust this self confessed scoundrel. Could he have been wrong? Had he bought into mass xenophobia? Which is a very real issue in Aretherran global politics.

Fear, distrust and hatred of non-U.R.O.A. nations, especially those in the VTX Union, is a more common worldview than most U.R.O.A. citizens care to admit. Of the three leagues of nations on Aretherra, the U.R.O.A. and the VTX Union have been at odds in the best of years and at war for all of the rest. After the fall of the Elder Race, when the dust settled and the planet moved on from the cataclysmic changes that occurred, following the Great Event; from the ashes rose the U.R.O.A., The VTX Union, and the Free Nationstates.

“You must be in the midst of some serious thought-provoking stuff on your mind kid. C’mon, seriously, lighten up a little and have something to eat. I recommend…well, everything.” ZWolf poured them both some more drink, to Aero’s surprise, his glass was half full, though he didn’t remember drinking that much. “Everything but these.” He picked up a small sandwich, made with brown bread, with green leaves sticking out. A gelatinous yellow glob of some condiment fell from the edge, just before he tossed it onto the pile of other similar sandwiches. “i don’t recommend those.” ZWolf dusted off his fingers upon the folded napkin he removed from his lap. He then used it to whip up the glob from the tablecloth. “Honestly, I don’t know what they put in those sandwiches, but to me it tastes like the belly of a clam. My mother used to make them for me as a kid, as we were very poor and she fed us whatever she could grow from out indoor aquatic garden.” Aero turned away to the sound of the waves and thought about his mother.

“Where did you grow up?” Aero wondered.

“At the bottom of the world, where it’s so frigid that no plant can survive and grow up normally, let alone a young boy and his widowed mother.” ZWolf paused to take a drink. Aero had a feeling that ZWolf’s answer was practiced, probably had been repeated many times over and possibly even completely untrue. Aero’s eyes glazed over, staring at the light that moved subtly among the leaves. Smiling, ZWolf jokingly added, “Yes it’s so far south, that if you went any further, you would be headed north again.”

Okay, Aero thought, that was sort of funny. Aero’s vision came into full focus again and he felt his heart jump in his chest when he saw something very different by the edge of the garden. For the briefest moment, the flickering shimmer in the trees went away and became darkened, as if cast in shadow for a brief moment and then the shimmer returned. Aero squinted, attempting to see more from where he sat. ZWolf was oblivious and continued his reminiscence.

“When I was very young, my father died in a bizarre fishing boat accident.” Aero looked to ZWolf, who appeared distant, mentally detached from that time and place, he seemed to have sailed home to be with his memories. ZWolf continued sharing the story of his youth, but Aero wasn’t hearing him anymore.

“Aero, don’t be alarmed and don’t let ZWolf know that I’m reaching you telepathically. If he knew that I’ve made a psychic link with you, that we were close by, this might be over before it starts. Remember, don’t say anything out loud when you respond to us right now.” Aero could not believe it, the queen was speaking to him by psychic projection, although he could not see them, it was a comfort to knew they were close by. He restrained himself so not to give anything away, keeping his emotions in check, he acted as calm and casual as he knew how. Aero wondered where they were hiding, outside the compound, just beyond the treeline? He wanted to know how close they were, perhaps he could make a run of it and simply escape. “No! Aero, don’t run. Stay where you are or the unseen will get you killed.” The Queen pleaded with him.

Mustering all of his mental acuity, Aero attempted something he had never accomplished before, speaking telepathically without speaking with his voice. Little did he know how much danger he was in at that very moment. His life was literally riding on his ability to not speak. “Where are you? Why can’t I try to escape? I would need only to outrun ZWolf.” Aero asked the queen, very pleased with himself, having done so without speaking the words out loud.

“Aero, you are completely surrounded by the Vyst at this very moment. You may not be able to see them because they are phased out of view, but we counted at least twenty one of them standing around the entire perimeter of the garden. I conjured a barrier to keep them all inside the garden, but they could still get to you. For the moment, their psychic powers are also restrained within the barrier. This way they cannot sense or see us. The moment they notice the psychic wall between us and them, they’ll break through and hunt us down in seconds. So it’s crucial that you do not give away any of this.” Explained the queen.

“I understand, no pressure, right Aero, just stay cool.” Aero thought in a mocking tone for all to hear. “But what is the plan? How do I get past the Vyst and escape from this place?” Said Aero telepathically to the royals.

“Aero it’s me, Sirann. I’m really sorry. We’re going to get you out of there as soon as possible. My parents and Svainnus are arguing about it right now.” Sirann said directly to Aero, so the others couldn’t hear him. No sooner had he spoke this to Aero, a mass commotion began in the garden.

All at once, Vyst phased into their physical forms, lining the perimeter of the garden they stood tall, menacing and shrouded in dark cloaks seemingly made from something other than cloth. Two towering Vyst materialized on both sides of Aero, making him wonder if they were there all along. The Vyst to his right threw his arm across his own chest and then let his semifist sail through the air, where it landed a powerful backhand against Aero’s upper cheek. The blow was hard enough to knock Aero out of his chair and onto the grass. Aero looked up in astonishment at his attacker and glared at the faceless hooded creature with a world of contempt. ZWolf stood and looked down at Aero. In response, the two Vyst looked down to Aero, still in the grass rubbing his cheek and then they looked up at ZWolf, as if waiting for instructions.

“Where are you guys?!” Aero yelled out with his voice and mental projection. ZWolf grabbed the left side of the table with one hand and threw it aside, where it landed several feet away. Dishes, food and silverware scattered across the lawn. ZWolf instantly crossed the divide, picked up Aero by the collar and hoisted him into the air. Aero was pulled in close to the face of an angry ZWolf.

“Do you know what you’ve done?” ZWolf shouted in Aero’s face, he tossed him on to the ground and ran away. ZWolf would not be seen on the Acarnian Islands again. Dazzed and shaken, Aero rose to his feet, his heart pounding away in his chest, as he feared the inevitable onslaught of Vyst. But instead, the Vyst remained in physical form and unmoved from their positions around the garden. The two Vyst that flanked him by the table, including the one who struck him across the face, stood near by doing nothing, save for pointing at him. In fact, all of the Vyst held up their bony hands and pointed at Aero, who stood looking around, totally mystified by the sight.

“What are you waiting for?” Aero said quietly to himself. Although his words were aimed at the surrounding Vyst, he hoped his near-silent message would reach his nearby friends as well. No sooner had he spoken these words, he saw the vision of a man standing on the hill that stood to the left of the garden, past the main house of the compound. Even from that great distance, Aero could see the look of amazement on the man’s face. As they locked eyes, Aero saw his expression morph into a steely cold glare, but it was the man’s eyes that made Aero feel cold inside. The man’s slate blue eyes seemed to recognize Aero, which was impossible and made him feel uneasy, even afraid. The man then slowly shook his head, looking past Aero, as if at the garden full of Vyst. In the moment following the man’s nonverbal message, the Vyst began to disappear from his peripheral view. Aero turned around to see if they were truly leaving and when he turned back to the hillside, the man was gone.

Knowing that his moment had come, Aero made a run for the treeline of the patch of jungle, hoping to escape, hoping to find his friends. A loud yelling in his inner ear made him stop in his tracks at the edge of the garden.

“Aero! They are coming for us! Stay away until we handle the Vyst, it’s too dangerous.” King Svainn yelled via telepathy. But Aero would have nothing of the sort.

“Sirann, where are you? Tell me please, so I can help.” Aero pleaded his words through telepathy, hoping they would only arrive in Sirann’s mind and not his whole family’s. Unlike his father, Sirann had no qualms about giving their location to Aero.

“We’re in a clearing, about a hundred meters past the treeline of the garden where you were. Hurry, the Vyst are already here!” Sirann yelled back to Aero using his telepathy.

Aero sprinted into the jungle. His only hope was to find his family and help them somehow. But this would be a more difficult task than he expected. About half way through the hundred meters separating him from the clearing, two Vyst appeared out of nowhere. They materialized right in front of Aero as he ran, forcing him to change directions in an attempt to go around them. The two Vyst disappeared and reappeared in front of his path again and this time he ran square into the middle of them both. They grabbed his arms with their bony fingers and held on tight. Aero shook and fought to break free from their grasp, but he wasn’t able to shake himself free.

“Aero, where are you? My Dad, he…” Aero heard Sirann calling to him again, this time he heard Sirann’s actual voice echoing through the jungle. What happened to the king? A fiery anger welled up in Aero as he thought the worst for his adopted family, he had to reach them now! Aero’s thoughts turned into reality and bright blue flames raced down his arms, into his open palms where they clung onto the cloaks of his two captors. The Vyst lit into roaring flames that ignited all through their bodies in an instant. Aero’s arms were undamaged from the fire, but the Vyst fell to the ground, and bellowed a screeching screaming sound that he would not soon forget. Free from the Vyst, Aero sprinted ahead and was at the edge of the clearing seconds later.

It appeared to be too late, Aero saw at least fifteen Vyst forming a semicircle and backing the royal family toward a great pit that lay at their backs. The pit was around thirty feet in diameter and from Aero’s elevated vantage point above the clearing, it looked deep enough to end their lives should they fall. The only force stopping the Vyst from either annihilating the family or forcing them into the pit behind them was a pale white, semi-transparent elliptical forcefield. The field was being cast from the queen and the Vyst were standing at it’s edge, trying to destroy it. The Vyst continued to throw salvos of magic and energy with their hands and minds. Five more Vyst joined the semi-circle and began joined the others, it would not be long before the end came in one form or another.

The King looked past the mob of enemies at Aero, still standing fifty feet away, by the edge of the clearing. Aero saw that he was looking at him and knew that he must do something to help them. But what could he do to save them, his powers would still manifest themselves too random to be counted on in a life or death situation. Aero was sure that was why he said to do nothing. The king feared that he too would be lost, if they were unable to escape from this dire predicament.

“Aero please, don’t. You are far too important. You’re life is far more precious than any of ours. Run to the shoreline at the bottom of the cliff, a boat is anchored there. Sail back to the smaller island and find the portal that leads back to the capital. When you return, you must find Tryn. Please Aero, run!” The king looked in his eyes and pleaded to him. Aero shook his head and a tear ran down his cheek. He knew he must do something because the Vyst were almost through the flickering forcefield. Knowing Aero’s heart, the king pleaded with his eyes, in a single look he begged him to resist temptation. The rest of the royal family prepared for the worst, Aero could feel his heartbeat race faster by the moment. Their feet were against the edge of the deep pit and they were about to fall in, jump by choice, or be killed by the encroaching Vyst.

Aero felt lightheaded, a tingle ran through his spine and his nerves felt unhinged, like being jolted by a mass energy surge. He felt like fainting, the Vyst pounded away at the forcefield which grew closer to failing with each fleeting moment. Clearly they were out for blood and intended to kill the entire royal family once they broke through. Aero hadn’t realized, until he was halfway to the Vyst, but he had been walking toward the commotion. The backs of the Vyst were turned and they were facing away from his approaching steps. All of the Vyst were completely ignorant to his approach and too absorbed in with their undertaking to notice that he was drawing closer. Aero continued to step forward, carefully stepping closer to the Vyst. With the royals were to the point of no return, like their Vyst attackers, they did not notice that Aero was almost upon them.

Sparks flew in every direction when the force field exploded from multiple perfectly synchronized blasts from the Vyst. In the chaos of the moment, no one took note of where Aero now stood, he was only a couple steps away from the Vyst and the royal family. It was Svainnus who tried to attack first, he summoned a large mass of energy between his hands and held it out in front of his body. He stepped between his family the Vyst, arks of excited potential energy and sparks jumped from the surface of the purple ball of energy. Aero and the rest of the royal family were confused by his ability to conjure energy like this. Unphased by his show of agression, the Vyst held their positions, which were only a few feet from Svainnus and his family. The closest Vyst made an aggressive move to attack, Svainnus pushed the ball of energy with his mind and the ball sailed toward the closest Vyst in the middle of the pack. Instead of striking them, the energy dissipated and was absorbed into nothing, and vanished into the air.

Shocked and dismayed, Svainnus backed up into his father, who touched his shoulder and stepped in front of his family in order to protect them. The king unsheathed his sword and readied for battle. Likewise, the queen and the princes did the same, all of them took defensive postures with their swords at the ready. Two Vyst on each of the far ends of the semicircle attacked first and the king handily dispatched three of them in a few second’s time, but the fourth landed a powerful blow on the back of the king’s head. The king fell to the ground bleeding with the three he just killed laying next to him. The queen pushed her slender, but very sharp sword through the back, straight through the heart of the Vyst that hit the king and she kicked him in the back to dislodge him from her blade. Aero stood at the ready, trying his best to honor the commandment of the king, to not be involved in the fight. Sirann raised his sword, yelled out his best battle cry, and started toward the rest of the Vyst. But the queen had other plans for her sons.

“No!” The queen screamed, when she saw her son move into attack. With one wave of her arm, she tossed her sons high into the air and flew them across the entire width of the great pit and beyond. Sirann and Svainnus landed over 100 feet away, safely placed in bushes at the far edge of the clearing, where the trees welcomed another section of jungle. Aero was surprised by his ability to see his friends that far away, with clarity and accuracy he had never possessed before, he could see that their eyes were shut, but they were breathing. He focused back to the fight with the Vyst, not surprised that the queen would protect her sons first, Aero saw that the king was still alive, but bleeding badly. The queen was overtaken by the Vyst by now and Aero could see more of them materializing every second to join the fight. She circled the king, eviscerating, decapitating, dispatching limbs, and driving them through over and over.

Her ferocity was awesome and scary and for a moment it looked like she may win. However the odds were not in her favor and the Vyst could do things that she could not. They would appear and strike her with one of their mace-like weapons and then disappear before she even knew they were there. Finally, they ganged up and six of them struck at once, knocking her to the ground and there she stayed, bleeding out into the dirt by the edge of the pit. The king was finally able to raise to his feet after seeing his wife stuck down. He held the same six Vyst with his mind, using his telekinetic ability to freeze them in place, so that they could not move or vanish like all of the others. In one mighty blow, the king cut all six of them in half and when he let go his mental hold on their bodies, they fell to the ground in a heep of pitiful Vyst meat.

The king’s victory was minor and brief, he fell to one knee next to the queen to see if she was still breathing, almost uncaring about the consequences for himself, he pulled the strands of her long brown hair away from her face. Just then, two Vyst soared in grabbed the king by the arms, picked him up and threw him into the center of the pit, where he would fall for half of a mile before hitting bottom. Aero went numb as he watched his adopted father fall to his death right before his eyes. He started walking to the horde of Vyst, who were about to do the same to the queen, toss her aside like she was garbage. Two Vyst appeared from thin air behind him and grabbed his arms to restrain him like before.

Aero had seen enough, felt enough, been hurt enough for one lifetime and he would be damned if a force of evil was going to take any more from him, ever! Without thought, Aero lit the two Vyst on fire, just as he did in the woods and kept walking toward the rest. He could hear them screaming and burning to death behind him and he didn’t turn around, or care. As he was upon all of the remaining fifteen or more Vyst, two of them were picking up the queen.

“I don’t think so.” Said Aero to himself and he was about to throw two bolts of blue-white energy at the two Vyst carrying the queen, but his attempt fizzled and nothing came from his hands. Just then he heard the rushing of feet pounding up behind him as he looked at his hands in dismay. He tried again to throw energy, fire, something to save the queen, but nothing came. When would this nightmare end? Why can’t he hold onto his powers and keep them like everyone else?

Aero was pushed out of the way, seeing only the back of a young woman running toward the Vyst, her light brown hair tossed about her back as he sped past him. She threw two blinding bolts of energy at the Vyst holding the queen and they exploded on impact, sending waves of blood and flesh in every direction. The queen had landed on her side next to the king, near the edge of the pit. The rest of the Vyst turned and screeched at the sight of Tryn coming toward them. Five disappeared from sight and wouldn’t be seen again. The remaining ones turned to fight Tryn, who looked past them to see that the queen was still breathing, for the moment. Three Vyst rushed at Tryn and readied to release whatever they could to stop her. Aero, still unable to manifest any ability, use any power, stood back and watched as this young woman took on the Vyst and saved their lives.

Tryn raised her arms and with one motion, flicked her wrists outward and two of the Vyst went sailing into nearby trees to be run through and killed by the outstretched limbs. The third got closer, but Tryn made him explode with another bolt of energy. Six more sped toward Tryn and Aero, they were ten feet apart, but close enough for the Vyst to attack both of them, should they get past Tryn first. The Vyst hovered over the ground at a running pace, their bony hands ready to strike with weapon or by using their minds against them. When Tryn saw that the Vyst surrounded both she and Aero, four on the ground and two floating above them, Tryn crouched down and was soaring up into the air a second later.

The Vyst followed, but were unable to match her speed and height. Instead, they waited for her, hovering near the ground, some were close enough to attack Aero and others waiting to kill her. Tryn picked them off, one by one, using an assortment of powers she had just used against the others. When she was done, two had burned, two exploded and one she tossed against the wall of the pit killed instantly on impact. Tryn glided back to the ground to meet the sixth and final Vyst who was about to physically strike Aero with a sort of axe. The Vyst moved with confidence, as if the rest of his comrades had not been easily killed by Tryn seconds before. The Vyst made a mighty swing with his weapon, just missing a ducking Aero. But there would be no second chance for the Vyst, no victory that day, only death.

Tryn grabbed the Vyst by the hood of his cloak and pulled him up into the air. Tryn flew faster and higher than she ever dreamed she could and before long everyone on the ground, even the fallen Vyst with their massive dark cloaks, looked like tiny bugs to Tryn. She smiled and enjoyed the wind on her face, rushing through her hair. She then looked down at the Vyst, who squirmed and screamed as he tried to break free from her grasp. The Vyst reached up and grabbed Tryn’s wrist, desperately trying to sever the iron hold she had on the hood of his cloak. But Tryn would not let go, the Vyst squeezed her wrist with immense pressure and she could feel the bones of his hand cutting through her skin, drawing blood. The Vyst held onto her wrist, Tryn’s blood, in small droplets, streamed away back to the ground below.

“This is the end of the line, you’re getting off here!” Tryn yelled down to the Vyst. She was about to throw him into the ocean water, which Tryn could see had replaced the land, somewhere far below the bank of clouds. But something very strange happened instead.

Tryn gasped when she saw the brilliant white of fluffy clouds, the colbolt blue sky, everything just disappeared from view and her entire reality faded to black. She was no longer in the sky, no longer was she flying through the clouds, far over the ocean. Everything that was and knew, ceased to exist as Tryn was pulled in and engulfed by the total absence of light, immersed in another reality. Confused and frightened by her utter lack of surroundings, she dared not move. Frozen in time and space, she simply existed where nothing else did. She looked down to find that she was clenching nothing, her knuckles still white in the ball of a fist, but there was no longer the hooded Vyst in her hand. Where did the Vyst go? Did he do this? Did the Vyst pull her into the other plane of existence? Tryn didn’t know that the Vyst could slide in and out of alternate dimensions at will. But he did know something about crossing over through spacetime to other places, other dimensions. It was possible, but more likely probable that the Vyst pulled her into this dimension with him. No matter the cause, who or whatever did this, put her here, she knew that she had to get out.

Tryn tried to move through the void of space, but without land or sky or objects of any kind, she knew not if she was moving. There was a total lack of sound, as if she was in a vacuum, like when she moved through space after the explosion. Suddenly she felt something brush past her foot and she looked down to see nothing there. So she tucked and bent down, trying to reach the space below. Tryn had a theory that the Vyst was still there, but was masking himself by slipping into yet another dimension beyond this place. Accessing a pocket dimension within this one. Who were these cloaked people? Tryn thought. If she was right, it meant that the Vyst was unable to fully escape, either back to Aretherra, or some other reality. This would be her only shot of getting back. Tryn stared into the void with a fierce look of determination and pushed out a wave of concentrated power. She was unaware at the time that she was accessing her own power of telepathy, but in that moment she was simply concentrating. To her joyous surprise, the Vyst was revealed, manifested a short distance away. He was squirming to get away from Tryn, but couldn’t move any further and she closed the gap between them instantly. Tryn grabbed hold of the exposed wrist of the Vyst and they were instantly brought back to the sky over the bay, they both looked down upon Aretherra, they were back, but they were falling fast.

Tryn and the Vyst fell toward the water and she was unable to fly again until the waves became crystal clear to her, she could even see the miniscule droplets of water in the spray cast from the crest of the crashing waves. She knew that she could fly when her vision became heightened and magnified to this amazing degree, as it did earlier. To the relief of the screaming Vyst, Tryn avoided the hood this time, instead grabbing hold of the back of Vyst cloak and pulled him up until they were over the low bank of scattered clouds again. Tryn then used her telekinetic power, something she had never done before, but in that moment it came naturally. With her arm as a guide, she threw the Vyst out over the sea. Just before the Vyst landed on the ocean’s surface, Tryn blasted a wide beam of energy from both hands and exploded the Vyst into fish chum that sank below the surface of the waves.

Tryn raced through the air, down to the ground again and tumbled several times when she hit the dirt. She smiled as she rose to her feet, and knew that someday he would have to practice her landings. She ran to Aero, who was holding the queen in his arms. Aero looked up at Tryn with tears in his eyes.

“She’s dead, they’re both dead.” Aero said to Tryn.

“I’m sorry.” Tryn responded with compassion. Clearly to Tryn these people were very important to this young man.

The queen’s blood loss was staggering, she had been impaled numerous times all over her body and there was a large gash on the side of her head. It was painfully ironic that she had died while Aero attempted to fight the Vyst and while Tryn defended him. If Aero and Tryn were not surrounded, he could have tried to save her, at least stop some of the bleeding. Aero wept over the queen’s beautiful face, and for the king, who died bravely fighting for the lives of his loved ones. Aero felt lost and alone, as he had so many other times during his short life. Tryn took a step back and stood silently watching the grief consume Aero and he wept for his parents, both for his birth and adopted parents, for their loss was almost too much to bare. Eventually Aero looked up and addressed Tryn, still holding the queen in his arms.

“Thank you.” Aero paused, shaking his head. He was baffled at the miraculous timing of this beautiful young woman, his rescuer.

“You’re welcome.” She smiled at Aero for a brief moment before adopting an expression of concern, better suited for the situation.

“What is your name?” Aero asked.

“My name? Oh, sorry, I’m Tryn.” Tryn replied, somewhat taken off guard, as if that was a strange question to be asked.

“Well, thank you Tryn. Thank you for saving me, my friends, who are somewhere over there.” Aero nodded his head back behind him. He then hoped that the two princes were actually okay.

“May I ask, what is your name?” Tryn inquired.

“My name is Aerosus. But my friends call me Aero.” He responded, looking down and pulling his fingers through the queen’s salt and pepper hair.

Aero couldn’t see it, but Tryn’s eyes became very large, expressing the sheer surprise she felt hearing him say his name. Tryn then tried to compose herself, but she could not stop smiling. After all of this time, after the talks about her destiny with the Aed, after running away, almost dying several times, the crazy villagers, had she really found him? Was this the Aerosus she was always destined to find? He wasn’t a young boy at all? Could there be more than one Aerosus in this world? Tryn’s mind spun around with these dizzying host of thoughts, but all the while she continued smiling at him. Aero could see that she was distracted and that she hadn’t noticed he was looking at her. When Tryn began to laugh, not really at Aero, but in a silly, almost manic way, though she was still looking in his direction not at him, he had to ask.

“What is it?” Aero asked, puzzled and a little concerned. Tryn shook her head, stopped laughing and focused on his face again. Aero held his puzzled look until she answered him after a beat.

“I’m sorry. If I told you everything right now, you might think me mad. I am happy that I found you. It has been a long journey and I am simply happy that it is over.” Tryn admitted as Aero gently rested the queen’s body on the ground.

“I would like to hear all about it sometime. But now, we have to find my friends, who I think are somewhere over there.” Replied Aero looking off, past the great pit to the treeline.

Together Tryn and Aero made their way to the other side of the clearing. Soon they found Sirann, who they revived with some water. However Sirran was nowhere to be found. Sirann, upon hearing of his mother’s demise, rushed to her side and wept over her. While Sirann mourned for his mother, Aero and Tryn searched the depths of the great pit, looking for any sign of life, hoping to see the king. Convinced that they could not find the king, much less save him, Aero, Sirann and Tryn made a makeshift cot and carried the queen’s body to the water’s edge. A great sailing yacht was tied to a small dock that extended into the depths of the waters. Sirann was going to circle back and look for his brother after he stored his mother below the deck. As he ran up the beach toward the jungle’s edge, Aero urgently called for him from the bow of the boat. When Sirann returned, Aero handed him a note from Sveinnus.

“Dear family, I’ve gone back to the capital city on my own. There is much work to be done, much to prepare and I needed to head back right away. I will see you on the other side. Sirann.”

Sirann tore up the note ad tossed it into the water. “Seriously? He went back already?” Sirann yelled at Aero, who replied with a shrug. Aero was used to Sirran, who would sneak off, always avoid his family and claim that he had great work to be done in the capital. This was nothing new to him, but somehow, to his brother, to Sirann, he was shocked and upset every time Sirran pulled something like this. Try walked up from below.

“Wow! This boat is amazing! You can sleep on it too?” She said with a giddy smile. Both Sirann and Aero just looked at her, smiling and speechless.

“When are we leaving? I can’t wait. The open water!” Try continued, barely able to contain her enthusiasm. Siren fended off as Aero manned the steering, using the boat’s motor until they got further away from the island, into deeper waters. As Aero pointed the bow to the open sea, Tryn ran to his side and remained captivated by the water as the boat cut through the waves, sending salty spray on them both. She turned back and smiled at Aero. As he smiled back, he was overwhelmed by Tryn’s beauty, her innocence, the way the sun glistened off her hair and her smile sparkled brighter than the crest of the crashing waves under the midday sun. Aero had never seen someone his age, who like him had the weight of the world crushing in on all sides, but to Tryn and childlike sense of wonder and her blissful happiness at this moment, he was in awe of her.

Soon after they were back in the capital city, having brought the queen’s body with them, but the king would never be seen again.

It's Your Turn. Write Something. Say Something.