“Here is the book. I… Forgive me, Aiyanna, but… Is it wise to do this? The ancient magics have not been used in centuries. We do not know the price you will pay…” The book was passed in to her hands, he seeming reluctant to let it go.
She took the book, her serious face softening to a sad wistful expression. “We don’t have any more time to waste. I will fight a god if that is what it takes to save Marsyas.” Her words didn’t seem encouraging, judging by the grim expression on his face. Aiyanna lifted her hand to brush her fingers across his cheek in comfort. “Don’t worry, Cousin. It will work.”
They left the hall, walking in to a grand open room. White marble and tall stone pillars reached high to the vaulted ceiling. Across the floor lain in gold was an intricate circle design – an ancient symbol of the old magic, faded over time. Her footsteps echoed over the cold stone floor as she nodded to those that gathered around the circle. The book was placed on a podium and opened to a marked page.
Aiyanna moved back to the center of the circle, taking in a deep calming breath. “Begin.” she breathed, cupping her hands before her. The faded symbol on the floor began to glow, a brilliant white ball of light forming in her hands. Her eyes closed as she pulled it in… the offered power of all those surrounding her and that which she offered herself.
Please, Maker of all things, hear our prayer. Allow me your divine power to remove what threatens to end all our existence.
The light grew overwhelming, enveloping the entire circle and she along with it. Humming with an unearthly sound, her eyes blinked opened as the ball of light shattered suddenly in her hands! Everything was cold – like ice! Her body felt frozen, prickling needles before it all was numb.
It is said the whole world heard the sound of the crystal as it formed, shooting up in to the sky – a sight that could be seen for miles. A crystal pillar solid as diamond and cold as snow; clear blue with a single shadow inside where the Imperial Queen once stood. She had become the pillar of the world to save them all.
Aiyanna took in a sudden breath, as if she had been under water for ages and could just now breathe. Her eyes fluttered open, white spots dancing before them, now staring up at the strangest of things. Crystal pillars jutting out from the ground at all sides. Some straight and narrow, some short and thick. Tilted, or tall… They were surrounding her. On the ground she lay, her back against the cold stone of more crystal that seemed to form the very ground like sheets of ice.
Shakily moving to her feet, she glanced around wide eyed. Was this heaven? Could it be Marsyas? Something flickered in one of the crystals, her feet moving forward without instruction. A image – no, many images. Appearing suddenly and then going again just as quick as the next. It was herself as a child. Then it was an unfamiliar forest. There was a city in golden glory, and then another in ancient ruin. All around her the images would appear, in one crystal and then the next. Like a mirror reflecting the times.
Wind blew cold, she knew she could not stay there. Unsure of her heading, but moving forward Aiyanna left the crystal forest…