Wednesday, 04 August 2010
By Britney Spears
In darkness she hears a voice calling her name, indescernible, but she knows it's calling her. She opens her eyes under a star studded sky lying flat on her back on a rocky patch of grass. She sits up in a familiar place with a line of trees to her right and the jagged edge of a cliff to her left. Through the trees is home and over the cliff is the ocean raging against the rocks. Azura looks around for the voice that was calling her name but she's alone with the sound of the sea crashing against the shore. She climbs to her feet and moves over to the edge of the cliff. Home isn't through the trees; once it was but now it's burned to the ground. She stops paces shy from the edge and peers down at the waves below. The turbulant waters froth at the mouth, calling her home; this is the voice she heard, the voice of the ocean, the voice of death. Her feet shuffle closer to the natural edge that draws the line between life and death and the voice calls her name again, but it isn't coming from the ocean, it's coming from behind her. Azura turns on a dime to face the elusive voice and the ground gives way beneath her feet. She catches a final glimpse of the trees as a figure emerges from the shadows before she's falling backwards into open air. The jagged cliff face rushes passed as she screams in terror and intuition. As her body breaks through the tumultuous waves and water envelopes her once and for all she realizes who the voice belongs to. She tries to suck in air to whisper the name but all she gets is a lungful of salty water. She coughs out bubbles and the name of the elusive voice: father.
Azura sits up saturated in sweat, panting as if she's just reached the orgasm of her life. Instinctively her hand reaches for the amulet around her neck. Her fingers close around it's stone surface and a sense of calm washes over her electric nerves. She closes her eyes and tries to recall the details of the nightmare but it's fading like a tear in the ocean. Telio and Razul are a naked tangled mess beside her undisturbed by anything. Azura crawls out of the tent still clutching the amulet in one hand. Standing out in the open air she breathes a sigh of relief. It wasn't real, let it go she tells herself walking away from the tent, bare feet whispering over the ground. She walks through the trees barely conscious of where her feet are taking her. The moonlight shifts down through the trees and catches glimpses of her bare alabaster skin as she walks into a clearing facing the edge of a cliff. She stops at the edge of the trees staring out over the open expanse as fear shivers down her spine. Black wings flutter at the edges of her vision as her fingers crush the amulet. The ground rushes up to meet her as the moon goes black.
Sunlight pours down into the clearing banishing the shadows from the night before. Azura lies spread-eagle in the grass with one hand still wrapped around the amulet, the only thing she's wearing. She swims back into consciousness slowly, surfacing from under black depths that tug at the edges of her mind like a child tugs on it's mother's skirt, begging her to go back down. She opens her eyes and blinks rapidly trying to shatter the golden light filtering through her eye lids. As the fog surrounding her head lifts the light takes on a whole new meaning. Realization drops like a ton of lead directly over her chest jolting her into a sitting position. Her lips curl back from her teeth, exposing pearl-white fangs as hiss escapes her throat. Azura sits in the grass in direct sun and marvels over the fact that her skin doesn't burn. She stares at her hands and light is reflected off their pale surface back into her face; it doesn't hurt. Her hands run over her legs as if she doesn't believe she's in her own body anymore. Her skin doesn't char and burn into ash in the sunlight even as she runs her hands over her legs several times. Squiting she looks up into the sky, directly at the sun, but other than being intensely blinding nothing happens. She looks down at the amulet hanging between her breasts and lifts it in both palms, running a finger over the symbols carved into it's surface once more. Azura gets to her feet and runs back to the tent.
Down on her hands and knees she climbs through the flap and shakes Telio violently. "Get up," she hisses.
"Wh-what?" Telio asks disoriented looking around for the source of his rude awakening.
"Get up!" Azura says tugging on his arm.
"Why?" Telio asks shaking his head lightly as he sits up.
"I've got to show you something." Azura says as she turns and crawls out of the tent once more. Telio watches her ass wiggle it's way out of the tent. Parts of him waking faster than others he follows her out of the tent stark naked. He gets to his feet and shields his eyes from the sun, looking for Azura. He finds her standing in a shaft of bright sunlight pouring through the leaves with her arms spread open like a child showing off a new trick. Fear jumps from his stomach into his throat reflexively. His arm shoots out as he takes a step forward, trying to pull her out of the sunlight before the oddness of the situation clicks into place. He stops halfway to her with his arm reaching through the air at nothing.
"What the hell?"
Azura smiles and lifts the amulet from her chest as she closes the distance between them and places it in his outstretched palm. He looks at the foreign symbols for a moment then up at Azura's face, his expression asking for conformation. "The amulet?" He says and she fills in the rest by nodding.
"I'll never have to fear the sun again."
Telio examines the amulet closer. "It must be some kind of ancient magic." He looks up at her again, "and this is what you found in the wreckage?" Of your house he doesn't add, it isn't necessary.
"My father must've had it." Azura replies excitedly.
Telio frowns, "But he never mentioned it to you? Or anything even like it?"
The smile dies on her face and she pulls the amulet from his grasp. "No, he didn't, but that doesn't mean anything."
"It could be a curse."
Azura shakes her head, holding the amulet reverently. "It isn't."
"You don't know that," Telio replies sternly taking a step closer.
"It isn't, I just know it isn't. I was meant to find it."
"They could've planted it there before they burned it down, knowing you'd find it and wear it."
Azura's eyes narrow as her lips curl back from her teeth, exposing her fangs. A growl rumbles in her throat. Telio steps back cautiously, holding his hands up in surrender.
"I'm only trying to be rational here, don't get mad at me. You know it's possible."
Azura relaxes as her fangs disappear. "It was in the house before that, long before that, they had nothing to do with it."
"Okay, suppose it was." Telio concedes, "Why wouldn't you have found it until now?"
"I don't know, maybe it was in a hidden compartment or something. The possibilites are endless."
"They definitely are." Telio replies warily.
"You've never seen or heard of anything like this?" Azura asks ignoring him.
Telio shakes his head. "I don't know everything but I've never come across anything like this in my studies."
"No ancient legends? No myths or fairytales?"
"No, but that doesn't mean anything. There's bound to be mention of an amulet that gives the wearer unheard of power in a book somewhere."
Azura cradles the amulet between her palms, fingers running over it's gashed surface tenderly. She looks up at the sun through the trees and smiles as the sun falls down all around. She closes her eyes and relishes in the warmth covering her from head to toe. Standing in the sun with her eyes closed, face turned to the sun, a memory slowly creeps its way back into consciousness, clawing into her brainstem piece by piece. She only remembers it because it was sunny then too.
She's standing in the clearing at the edge of the cliff staring at a man sparkling in the sun. He's standing with his arms out to the sides like a human cross, catching every ray of sun and casting it off like the surface of the ocean. It's the most beautiful thing she's ever seen. As she stands there in silent awe he turns halfway and looks back over his shoulder at her and smiles, the sun gleams from his teeth as well as he smiles at her and motions for her to come closer, curling his fingers in three quick gestures. Her feet carry her forward until she stands beside him. He shines so brightly in the sun she has to squint to look up at him; she's only a child after all and her heart hasn't yet ceased to beat. She can feel it pounding in her chest as she stares at him. He wraps an arm around her shoulders and pulls her in close. That's when she notices the circular tawny stone draped around his neck. It's lost in the blinding light reflecting from his skin but this close to him she can see it plainly. Her arms instintctively reaches out to touch it. Her fingers brush over the gashes in it's surface as her eyes search for his. He leans in as he brushes a lock of raven hair behind her ear, the same color of his own though his blood doesn't run through her veins, and whispers. "I miss the sunrise most. You will too, in time, but for now the world's simple joys are yours. Partake in them because the day will come when destiny knocks on your door and asks you to follow without another look back."
"What do you mean, father?" She asks as her fingers unconsciously trace the lines in the amulet.
"You will know what I mean in time. For now, live your life simply."
She rests her head against his chest, she only comes up to his ribs. "I love you." She says as she wraps her arms around his waist.
"I love you too." Triyel says giving her a light squeeze around the shoulders.
Reality clicks back into place like a door being slammed shut. Azura's eyes pop open as sunlight fills her retinas for the first time in years. Telio's standing beside her with a hand lightly resting on her shoulder. His expression shows concern and the faint stirrings of fear.
"Are you okay? You spaced out there for a second."
"I'm fine." Azura replies promptly, glancing around nervously as her fingers unconsciously tighten around the amulet. "He knew about it."
"Who knew about what?" Telio asks his face trained on Azura's.
"My father, he had the amulet, I saw it once when I was a child. I never remembered it until now."
They both look down at it. "Did he tell you anything about it?"
Azura squints, trying to recall the memory in clarity, though all she finds are pieces of hazy images floating in her mind. "He mentioned something about destiny and a door."
"That gives us a lot to go by."
Azura gives him a dark look. "I'm trying, okay? Cut me some slack."
"You are, I'm sorry." Telio conceds winding his fingers through Azura's. "Come on, lets go get some sleep. I'm still tired from last night."
A devious grin flashes across Azura's lips. She squeezes his fingers in her own and pulls him towards the clearing at the edge of the cliff. "I've got a better idea."
Telio allows himself to be dragged along with a smile on his face. "I think I'm going to like this idea."