When Talwyn followed her people, the Golden, from the mist, she found herself reborn into a wondrous world of greens and blues and light and warmth.
When she heard the spirits within the trees call out to her, she found again the oneness she thought lost to her forever.
When the spirits showed her a future that would see her beloved trees destroyed, Talwyn vowed to protect them, even if it meant never returning to the mist again.
Within the swirling mists of time, fanciful whispers give birth to wonders beyond any known reality and shape a single moment into legend. This is one such tale...
The Ancient One
The Ancient One (audio version)
Available in both audio and E.
The Ancient One [Ebook]
Sheri L. McGathy
Genre: Fantasy/SF - Young Adult
eBook Length: 46 Pages
Published: April 2005
Imprint: Double Dragon Publishing
The Ancient One [Audio]
Sheri L. McGathy
Read by Andrew Dollar
Genre: Fantasy/SF - Young Adult
Audio Duration: 68 Minutes
Published: April 2005
Imprint: Double Dragon Audio
Talwyn knew no other time before the mist. She knew no other shelter. Born within the mist's cool nothingness, she could recall nothing else but its soothing embrace. The mist had always been there and she within it.
But the changing was drawing near. Her kind, the Golden, whispered of its coming, reveled in its nearness, and welcomed its arrival. She could sense the excitement ripple within the oneness they shared, yet she was not sure she was as eager to see her existence change.
Time passed slowly within the mist, yet with each turn of the wheel her world altered. The oneness began to fade, the sameness became less pronounced. Talwyn's body betrayed her as it ached for another existence, while her mind was clouded with strange urges she could neither banish nor control. The intensity of the thoughts frightened her.
The mist grew thin, its once thick, fluffy whiteness revealing brief glimpses of worlds beyond its hazy veil. Worlds that Talwyn had not known existed and wished would fade from her view.
Even as her mind filled with dread, eagerness filtered through the thoughts of the Golden, the one thought linked and shared amongst them was now a jumbled array of many individual thoughts and emotions.
"...The departure comes. It draws near..."
"...Time has begun anew. The wheel has turned full circle. The season of change is upon us..."
"...Soon we shall recall the feel of Mother Sun's caress upon our skin..."
"...Aye, and the touch of land beneath our feet..."
Talwyn's fear overwhelmed her. What was this change? What would happen to her when it arrived? Would it hurt? She knew nothing about the worlds beyond the mist. How would she survive?
"Hold no fear, little one," the oldest of them whispered near her ear. "I have lived long and have seen many worlds through the blessings of the change." The old one's thoughts touched Talwyn's own. "Let me show you."
Memories of a time beyond the mist filtered through the collective, giving name to places and things that before held no understanding for Talwyn. A vision of moonlight as it glittered off the surface of a calm lake left her breathless while the feel of a cool breeze against moist skin made her shiver. The blissful warmth of Mother Sun made her sigh, and the wonder of color made her smile.
Talwyn grew still as images filled her mind, visions of her kind as they stepped free of the mist and walked on land. Emotions washed over her in great waves and gave her understanding. The knowledge given eased her fear. Excitement claimed her and she found she longed for this change to arrive.
Time passed and the mist grew warmer. Its shimmering silver curtain of moisture began to fade. Soon rays of sunlight filtered through the haze and hinted of something more waiting just beyond the veil.
Colors seeped in where once only gray prevailed. Shades of reds and pale yellows splashed against the silver veil of the mist, followed by greens and blues and browns. So many colors, from so many worlds, yet no one world called to the Golden. They floated on.
Each dawn the mist revealed another world, and each time the Golden turned away, until one dawn, Talwyn felt a stirring amongst them, an eagerness that awoke the same strange stirring within her.
A whisper sang through the fluffy softness that surrounded her, "Be ready."
The mist parted to reveal a world filled with colors. Hues of browns and blues, greens, reds, yellows nestled beneath sparkling white haze. The Golden trembled. This was the one. This world called to them. It would be the place of departure. Here, the changing would commence.
"Now, child." Her mother, Nia, clasped Talwyn's hand. "We will step free together, you and I, and together we will know the joy of self."
Closing her eyes, Talwyn took a deep breath and followed her mother from the mist into the world that waited beyond. When her feet hit solid earth, she fell forward, her frail limbs refusing to take her weight.
Nia's laughter washed over Talwyn in soft comforting waves. "Here child, I will stand for you until you may stand for yourself." Her mother slipped her arm about Talwyn's waist.
Talwyn held a hand up and giggled as her stubby fingers wiggled before her eyes. "Mother, look." She smiled as she raised her arm.
"Aye, child. 'Tis the change. We are remade."
Talwyn trailed her fingertips down the length of her mother's silky hair. "It shines," she whispered. Tipping her head back, she met her mother's golden stare. "Mother, you are beautiful."
"As are you, my dear." Her mother lifted a stray strand of Talwyn's hair. "See how you shine with the brilliance of the day? My child, you are a true daughter to the Sun, and a fitting sister to the Moon."
Talwyn frowned. "I do not understand."
Her mother laughed. "My sweet child." She tapped Talwyn's nose with her finger. "Outside the mist, we honor the sun; she is our mother, and we, her children. Her warmth nourishes our kind." Nia sank down and sat upon the ground. She pulled Talwyn onto her lap and wrapped her arms about her. Laying her cheek against Talwyn's, she said, "We honor Mother Sun and thank the land for allowing us to share of its blessings. When the change again calls to us, we will return to the oneness of the mist and take a bit of this world with us. 'Tis the way of the Golden."
Talwyn nodded. "Will the change be soon?"
"Nay, child, we will be long upon this land. We are at the new turn of the wheel. Here we will stay and bask in the warmth of Mother Sun." She lifted her face skyward and sighed as the sunlight played across her cheeks. Hugging Talwyn close, she whispered, "Sister Moon dwells there, within the shadows of the night, just beyond Mother Sun's touch." Nia pointed toward the western horizon.
Talwyn squinted against the bright blue of the sky. "I cannot see her, Mother."
"You will. You hold within you the power to see. When the light of Sister Moon shines silver against your skin, you will know it is time to leave this world behind. You have time to experience much before the mist calls us home."