Armed with the knowledge that the Oracle expected them all, they set off for the Temple of Odan far atop the steepest hill. Perched at the highest visible point in Vyren, the Temple stood at the top of a long, carved staircase that wound past the Griffin Lake and up into the clouds. Like many things on Vyren, the Temple was simple and open-ceilinged. Enchanted to keep the weather out, the crystal shield and roof of the temple held at bay the toxic mist hanging heavy in the crimson sky. All around the chamber were free-floating orbs of white light. Burning on either side of the room were fragrant incense and oils.

Stepping into the inner sanctum of the ornately sculptured, intricately-carved, round, multi-pillared room, Xandreus was not expecting what his eyes were greeted with. Perched atop a marble seat was a woman that looked as if she may not have moved in at least a full century. Appearing almost as if time itself had forgotten her, the Oracle had hair all the way down the steps leading up to her throne, which was carved of a silver metal not unlike the mythril discus from Legion. Her eyes, skin, and hair were also silver, as Lady Moon’s eyes were when using the looking pool. She sat motionless; staring, unblinking, unchanging. Were it not for the slow rise and fall of a breathing chest, Xandreus would have thought her an icon, or representation, of the Oracle carved out of the same mythril as the throne she sat upon.

“Come forward,” rang a voice loudly from above the room. It was as if the voice was from that of a giant, towering above them, and shouting down at those below. Xandreus was surprised to see that her lips had not moved.

“VelvetWind of Ethyrea—Shrouded in mystery –
Queen of the Unknown Realm—Mother  of the new breed –
Incomplete until the Journey’s Will ends.”

“Elrick Dream Walker—Seeker of the Wisdom –
      Protector of the Realms—King of the Known Realm –
      Incomplete until the Journey’s Will ends.”

      “Xandreus Fontanus—Creator of the New Realm-
     Master of us all—Connector of this world and that which lies in the great unknown. He who is the Will of the unknown Journey.”

The Royal Family stood motionless, mouths open, at the site before them. How did she know they had arrived? Her eyes looked as if steeped in a pool of magic metal, and they gazed intently skyward.

 “I know why you have come. The details of the Fontanus Vision matter not, DreamWalker. There is little relevance around every bend. But, long ago was this day foretold, and I have been waiting for this day to dawn. The sky bleeds, therefore, It has begun. Heed my words… For they determine the fate of us all.”

Xandreus watched as both his parents studied her. He had never been to the Oracle before. He supposed it was possible that she simply knew it was him because of his presence, but still, he found it unsettling to be called Master of anything. Before he had a chance to think that statement through, the Oracle continued speaking without mouth, or eyes.

“When all elements gather and fight for the same blood,
The rivalry of the cursed ones will be overthrown.
The traces of days forgotten—sought and won.
Seek and you will find.
Only the heart of the true heir of all the realms of Ethyrea
Can will the pieces of remembrance to awaken once more…
The union of the realms must be whole again.
      End the rivalry of the Brothers’ cursed –
      This is the power to end the endless night…
With the coming of the Reyan Alliance, a New Day must dawn!”

 

The thundering voice from above went silent. They stood there awkwardly waiting to see if there would be any more information forthcoming. Xandreus watched as her breathing remained slow and steady. King Elrick and VelvetWind, sensing that they would get no more, made to back out of the Temple, watching the Oracle carefully. They both found the entire Oracle experience to be a bit unsettling. The idea of being tapped into a higher level of though consciousness was also a concept foreign to them both.

Xandreus remained transfixed, his eyes washing over the Oracle as he memorized every detail as if his life depended on it. He wasn’t sure exactly why, but he knew it was important. Maybe not for today, but one day it would be. Absentmindedly, he grabbed his glowing green amulet and stared at the motionless woman seated on the throne. Slowly he studied her, trying to remember every moment, and every word.

As his thoughts turned to the gold-colored amulets once more, he was completely startled as the Oracle moved and looked directly at him. Slow and stiff, like one of the mystical, mechanical inventions from the realm of Fyr, she lifted her arm. Turning her palm upwards, there appeared a floating golden amulet. The cold, direct, piercing stare of the Oracle was extremely uncomfortable; like tiny daggers or pinpricks inside his mind. He struggled a little under the pressure of this intense invasion, but quickly forced her out of his mind. Then, suddenly, the voice spoke aloud once more:

 

“Xandreus Fontanus—Bringer of the new age –
Walker between the worlds.
You already know the answer to the riddle of the color you seek.
The Answer is right in front of you.
Always. Seek and you will find.”

 
The amulet vanished, and her stiff movements returned her palm to her lap where it had been before. The Oracle returned to the statue-like state, staring transfixed again, once more focused on the crimson-colored sky. Mystified by this, Xandreus turned to find his parents standing in the arched doorway behind him, mouths gaping, staring in wide-eyed disbelief at the Oracle’s sudden movement.

“Have you ever seen…?” Elrick started to ask VelvetWind.

“No,” she interrupted, still shocked by the Oracle’s actions.

“Never?” asked Elrick incredulously.

“No, never,” said VelvetWind.

 ​

Contest Excerpt 3