An Unconscious Visit
It seemed to Jack that he had been running for years. He was in an unfamiliar large room that was on fire, outside was a landscape that he had never been to or seen that was also a blaze. The trouble was, that he had no idea about how he had gotten here, or why he had come. Jack struggled to remember anything that would give some reason for his presence in this strange place, but nothing solid came to him, just flashes that were there one second, and gone the next. He continued to run, fearing what would happen if he stopped. But the faster he tried to escape the flames, the closer they seemed to lick at his heals. Then, without warning, the voice that he thought had been plaguing his head all his life returned to his head.
“Stop running Jackson.” A female voice said, he still didn’t recognise it, although he knew that he should. But he had bigger problems than his fading memory, as from behind him, the flames were catching up on him.
“I can’t.” Jack said looking behind him as the flames continued to give chase, easily keeping pace with him. “I’ll die if I stop.” Jack continued. Every fibre of his being was telling him that, although he didn’t know why, he just knew that it was a fact, no matter what the disembodied voice told him.
“How’d do you know that?” The voice asked him. Jack continued to run wondering how stupid the voice must be not to know that people run from fire. As if the voice could see his thoughts though, she answered his doubts. “I see you thinking on my intelligence boy.” The voice continued, getting angry now at the fact that he was seemingly disobeying and questioning it. “But I am more intelligent than anyone you have ever met.” She finished, for it definitely was a female voice, that Jack was sure about. It was the only thing he was sure about but that was beside the point. He however had a bigger problem; he was at the moment staying ahead of the flames but eventually this room would end and then there would be nowhere to go. “Then stop.” The voice said far too calmly for Jack’s liking. He didn’t get it, the fact that he had never seen a place like this before and he wondered still how he had gotten here, wherever here was? “Stop and you shall get answers.” She finished a note of glee in the strange voice that did nothing to calm Jack’s nerves. It was almost as if whoever the voice belonged to was enjoying this little show that was being put on for her.
“This is just a nightmare. I’ll wake up any minute now in my own bed.” Jack said, although with every second that passed, he was starting to doubt his own initial judgement to ignore the voice.
“And if you don’t. If you are wrong.” The voice said, giving voice to his own doubts. Jack took another look around and saw the flames within an inch of him.
“Help me!” Jack almost screamed out, more terrified now than any other time in his life than he could remember. More terrified that when, but he stopped in that thought, as he couldn’t remember. He knew that he should, but his mind was once more pulling nothing but blanks for him.
“I am. Stop running.” The voice responded. “The longer you run, the worse it will be.” She continued and laughed at him. It was a cold laugh that gave no room for kindness.
“I can’t.” Jack said, not entirely sure whether the voice was talking about his current situation, or his fading memory. He could faintly see the end of the room and knew that he was now out of time. At any moment now, he was going to hit the very solid looking wall and be incinerated to within an inch of his life, if he was alive and this was not some form of hell.
“STOP!” The voice commanded. And Jack felt his feet come to halt of their own accord for he knew that he could not have stopped on his own, even if he wanted to. Jack looked down at his feet to make sure that he really had come to a grinding halt, once ratified with that, he turned around to face the flames and his almost certain death, but when he looked, they were gone. With no evidence that there had ever been a fire at all.
“What the?” Jack asked looking around, he was no longer in the large black room but somewhere else. He saw mountains and rivers; the entire world lay out before him. As the sound of footsteps approaching him forced him to turn around once again. A black woman with equally black hair walked towards him, however her eyes were the purest gold. “Who are you?” Jack asked looking at the stranger.
“You do not recognise me Jackson Wolfrick.” It was the same person who had spoken to him in the fiery room, he was sure of it. However, he had no clue who this woman was. “My name is Xyla. God of the Dawn. And creator of the elemental gems.” Xyla finished looking at the confusion in the teen’s face, answering her own question as to whether Jack knew her.
“Am I dead.” Jack asked looking around, he had never seen this place before and he guessed that he must have died and moved on, which would at least explain why he was talking to a god at any rate. He checked his heart, but much to his disquiet, the thing was still beating, slightly quicker than normally, but still working. That raised as many questions as it answered though, if he isn’t dead, then how the hell had he ended up here. Wherever here was.
“No. It was a close-run thing. But no.” Xyla said standing next to him, towering over the fourteen-year-old with ease.
“Why were you telling me to stop.” Jack asked, now that he had indeed ascertain that he wasn’t dead, this became the next most important thing to figure out. As well as the fact of how in the god’s name he had gotten here, as he was certain that it wasn’t a dream, the previous part of the ordeal had felt as close to real life as possible.
“To save what I could of your memories, that fire was destroying them one after the other.” Xyla said coolly and with little to almost no concern in her voice. “But you stopped in time to save the majority of them.” She finished as Jack continued to look around, still unsure as to where he was. However once again as if Xyla had read his thoughts, and Jack guessed that is what she had done, she answered his unasked question. “We haven’t left your home Jackson Wolfrick. You are in fact laying in the bed of your medical bay right as we speak.”
“Then what is this?” Jack asked gesturing around at the new world around him. He was pretty sure that this place would not show up on any map that he had seen back when. But he stopped suddenly, as he couldn’t remember much off what had happened to bring him here.
“Your home. As I see it at least. Humans are so self-involved that they fail to see the bigger picture. But from here I see all.” Xyla said, as she grabbed hold of Jack’s arm and keeps it in an iron grip.
“What?” Jack asked slightly dumfounded as he continues to gaze around. But before he can think anymore on the answer, Xyla moves them northwards faster that the speed of sound, so that he sees the mountains of Normanguard, he saw the dwarves labouring in their mountain homes, even further north, Jack sore the outline of an elderly-man arguing with someone unknown, but before he could get a better look they were on the move again. This time towards the west and the barren plains of Bartazer. Moving south she showed him Boris’ fortress, as the lord raged at his captains for the raid on his home. Then Xyla turned his attention east. Moving faster than before she stopped at the port city Goreburn, the most eastern city on the map of his world. “Why are we stopping?” Jack asked, he had expected to return to the previous location, after having gone on his whistle stop tour of the entire known lands of this world.
“Prepare your self boy.” Xyla said before they shot even further east into The Unknown Lands. Jack’s heart began to race, and he wondered vaguely if it would show up back in his real body. “No, it won’t.” Xyla said once again answering his unasked thought. She stopped in the dead centre of The Unknown Lands. “This is why I have brought you to my domain boy.” Xyla said and Jack saw the darkness and in that darkness a face. A face so terrible that he didn’t want to remain here. “Look at it, Jackson Wolfrick!” Xyla shouted, sensing his desire to leave.
“N-No.” Jack said, whimpering at the mere thought of looking, he didn’t know what he was going to see in there, but he knew that whatever it was, it would do him no good whatsoever. He began to shake his head and kept his eyes tightly shut, he didn’t want to remain, and he told her so through his mind. But the god was not satisfied and raised her voice commanding him again.
“LOOK!” Xyla shouted and once again Jack felt his body react despite himself, opening his eyes he looked into the darkness once more. A set of red eyes glowered back at him. Behind it stood three black hooded figures. Jack wanted to look away but when he did, he saw the world behind him engulfed in flames. And like that it was over, and he was standing on top of the snow mountains, although the cold wasn’t there like it should have been. Next to him was again Xyla.
“What was that. That fire.” Jack asked looking around, but he could see no damage from the inferno.
“That. Is what is to come. Should you fail.” Xyla said solemnly. “The rivers and lands will burn; the humans will be slain, and the mountains people laid to bare.” Xyla continued.
“Who were they. What were they? The people in The Unknown Lands.” Jack asked frantically, now wondering about the faces he had seen, his mind going at a mile a minute.
“He was my equal. My dark reflection.” Xyla said bitterly. “And the figure around him were not people. Not anymore.” Xyla said, but Jack looked confused, so she continued. “They were The Raven’s. The five chief servants of the great one who shall not be named.” Xyla finished. But Jack could immediately see a flaw with this last statement.
“But there were only three figures.” Jack asked. “Where were the other two?” He asked looking up at Xyla.
“They have already arrived in your world. The rest will follow. As will he. Jackson Wolfrick, these petty wars that your people are waging amount to nothing. If your people do not stand together then they will fall. For he is returning. And the west must unite and soon.” Xyla said, almost pleading with the fourteen-year-old now.
“What do you want me to do. I’m just a kid.” Jack said when an idea came to him. “You’re a god right. Why can’t you do something about. About him.” Jack finished stuttering on the last words.
“I will help in the wars to come Jack Wolfrick. But first the people of this world must be united.” Xyla said.
“What do I do now?” Jack asked looking around, although he doubted very much that the peoples would be united in anyway, not when the likes of Boris and Mayor Osmund remain in power. But the god’s next words put pay to those thoughts.
“Now you fall.” Xyla said without speaking, and she pushed him off the mountains. His shock at the sudden lack of ground beneath him, kept the scream at bay due to the shock, but that vanished in a heartbeat. He screamed all the way down, sure that he would hit the cold ground thousands of feet bellow him. Which was when everything went black, and Jack was sure that he was now truly dead for sure.
He felt cold sheets beneath him, thinking that this was some other trick by the god lady, he initially tried to hide from it. But eventually he opened his vision, and saw a pair of golden eyes looking back at him.
“Xyla.” Jack mumbled his head was still fuzzy, like he was seeing the room through an opaque film. But as the rest of the scenery came to him, he recognised them as Echo’s although he seemed a long was off, but Jack could feel his breath on him, like he was sitting within an inch of his face. He closed his eyes and opened them again. Echo was there, but he had no way of telling how close he was.
At that moment, a thought came to him, a truly horrible thought. He closed his eyes and then opened the left one. The same image returned to him. He closed his left eye and tried to open his right. Nothing happened. He couldn’t see anything. He opened his left eye again, as a woman Jack did not recognise came into his line of sight, it took a while, but eventually she turned in his direction and saw him. There was a moment when their eyes met and the stranger gaped for a moment, before she ran out of the room and down a corridor shouting something that Jack struggled to hear.